By Doug Porter
Hundreds of people gathered along San Diego’s Waterfront Park yesterday to mark International Human Rights Day and to make their voices heard on the subject of refugees and support for the local Muslim community.
The San Diego area has long been a prime resettlement area for refugees, taking in as many as 3,000 annually. Successive waves of people from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East have created new lives here in recent decades.
Fear-mongering over Syrian refugees following terrorist attacks in Paris has led to increasingly strident rhetoric from prominent political figures. Now a ban keeping all people of the Muslim faith from entering the US has gained some traction. Hate crimes have soared, including attacks on places of worship.
So it was in this context that Ramla Sahid, Executive Director of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, along with support from faith, labor, and community organizations, organized last night’s vigil.
From the Union-Tribune:
“I feel that it’s important to advocate for the rights of Syrian refugees and their safety, as well as their human rights,” said one of the demonstrators, Hayatt Yasin, whose parents are refugees from Ethiopia. “It’s important that we address issues like these because a lot of the time it gets swept under the rug and it’s really sad because it’s times like these when we need humanity.”
From San Diego 6 News:
“It’s counter to our American tradition and our American values,” says Ramla Sahid.
Sahid and her family resettled in San Diego from Somalia when she was 6-years old. She now works with refugees as Executive Director of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. Sahid and others who help refugees want people to know that statements, like the one Donald Trump made about banning Muslims from coming into the U.S, do so much harm.
“To hear the sentiment that you’re not wanted here or we pose a threat is very disheartening and devastating,” says Homayra Yusufi-Marin from the ACLU San Diego and Imperial Counties.
The vigil included addresses from a variety of inter-faith leaders, Councilmember David Alvarez, Pedro Rios, Director of San Diego American Friends Service Committee, and Norma Chavez-Peterson of the ACLU.
Alvarez announced plans to incorporate the message “San Diego stand up for its refugee communities” in legislation to guide the city’s lobbying efforts in Sacramento and in Washington D.C.
Loretta Sanchez Stoops to the Stupid
The Democratic race for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer between Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and State Attorney General Kamala Harris took a new twist during an interview with Larry King yesterday.
From Think Progress:
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democratic congresswoman from California, claimed on Thursday that as many as 20 percent of Muslims “have a desire for a caliphate” and are willing to “institute that in any way possible,” including terrorism.
“We know that there is a small group, and we don’t know how big that is — it can be anywhere between 5 and 20 percent, from the people that I speak to — that Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in any way possible,” Sanchez, who is currently running for the Senate in California, said on PoliticKING with Larry King.
Reacting to negative feedback on social media, Sanchez later issued a statement saying she supported “the Muslim community in America and believe that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not support terrorism or ISIS.”
However, her statement did not include an apology or an acknowledgment that her numbers were off.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Islam is the world’s second-largest religion with an estimated 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent of the world’s population, according to the Pew Research Center. Taking Sanchez’s high estimate, that would be 320 million Muslims want to caliphate and are willing to resort to extremes and terrorism to satisfy their goal. Academics said the number is exceedingly difficult to know because there are no worldwide surveys but they questioned the range she provided as overly broad and likely too high.
The Christian Science Monitor, in a report on Muslim extremists, cited the research of Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at the RAND corporation, who while researching a book he co-authored called “Euro Jihad,” found Western European intelligence agencies estimated less than 1 percent of the Muslim population living there were at risk for becoming radicals.
SD Unions Give Early Endorsements for 2016 Candidates
San Diego unions blessed Sarah Saez in the crowded District 9 city council race, passed on making a choice between Marty block and Toni Atkins in the race for the 39th California Senate District and declined to weigh in on the candidacy of one of their own in the 2016 mayoral contest.
Following a screening process with rank-and-file members and union leadership, which included a mandatory questionnaire, interview and approval of both the Executive Board and the Delegates, yesterday the San Diego and Imperial Counties, AFL-CIO issued early endorsements for 2016 primary elections:
- Gregg Robinson for San Diego County Board of Education, District 1
- Rick Shea for San Diego County Board of Education, District 5
- Eduardo Reyes for Chula Vista City Council, District 4
- Chris Ward for San Diego City Council, District 3
- Sarah Saez for San Diego City Council, District 9
- Bernie Rhinerson for San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat A
- Mary Graham for San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat D
- Richard Barrera for San Diego Unified School District, District D
- Shirley Weber for the 79th California Assembly District
- Lorena Gonzalez for the 80th California Assembly District
- No endorsement in the race for the 39th California Senate District
Conspicuously absent from this list is IBEW 569 organizer (and OB Town Council President) Gretchen Newsom.
Here Comes Obama for Your Guns (Not)
You can be certain the National Rifle Association’s email marketing people will be reaching out to the already frightened this weekend, warning about the soon-to-be-signed executive order imposing licensing restrictions on gun show and internet sellers.
The Obama administration, according to various reports, will require those who annually exceed a set number of sales in those venues to be licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and carry out background checks on potential buyers.
The concept of making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks is supported by a super-majority of the population including gun owners and voters across the political spectrum.
The administration has repeatedly tried and failed to get the Congress to take some action. Or even any action. Lobbyists from the NRA threaten legislators with electoral opposition even when the matter at hand is something as simple as approving a nominee for the post of Surgeon General who says gun violence (33,000+ deaths annually) might be a public health problem.
Politifact Texas recently cited “a Quinnipiac University survey of 1,574 registered voters, taken Sept. 17-21, 2015, found 93 percent of respondents in favor of requiring background checks for all gun buyers. Similarly, 93 percent of respondents with a legally acquired gun in the household indicated support for such checks. The poll had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.”
Even 74% of NRA members support expanding criminal background checks to cover all firearm purchases. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence estimates 40% of gun purchases in the U.S. each year are through private sales – ones that don’t undergo background checks.
The NRA’s opposition to the very idea of extending background checks is based on two premises: that criminals will continue to get guns by other means and any move by the administration is just the first step on a slippery slope that will lead to a ban on personal ownership of weapons.
For those of the more paranoid persuasion (yes, there are gun nuts even more off the deep end than the NRA leadership) the current plans under development at the White House are just step one in a process which ends in the Green Berets seizing control of Washington and That Black Gun being impeached.
Universal background checks won’t stop a determined terrorist from acquiring weapons. (The most likely use of a gun in the home is suicide, by the way.) But existing background checks on the 60% of guns purchased conventionally actually do stop bad people from acquiring weapons.
A 20-year study by The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence found:
Since February 28, 1994, the Brady law has blocked more than 2.1 million gun purchases, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That is 343 purchases blocked every day. More than one million of those attempted purchases were by felons. Another 291,000 denials were to domestic abusers. And, 118,000 gun sales to fugitives were blocked thanks to background checks.
Now that the Obama administration is taking (very limited) action, you can expect to see the usual suspects crowing about executive overreach…blah,blah,blah… and the sanctity of Second Amendment.
If expanding background checks saves even ONE life, it’s worth it.
Progressive Calendar: Upcoming in San Diego
San Diego Orange Walk
Saturday, December 12th 11am
Bea Evenson Fountain, Plaza de Balboa El Prado, Balboa Park
Updates & Info
Join Moms Demand Action as we walk in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre and for all victims of gun violence. WEAR ORANGE to show your solidarity.
March and Rally for Climate Justice
Saturday, December 12th, Noon
Balboa Park, 6th and Laurel
Updates & Info
On December 12, people will come together from all over San Diego County to call for bold climate solutions that create local jobs, strengthen community power and transition us to 100% clean energy by 2035. And we’ll call on world leaders to not cross climate red lines – including keeping 80% of fossil fuels in the ground, transitioning to renewable energy, and environmental justice. Demonstrations will take place around the world. If we are successful, these mobilizations could be a real turning point for the movement.
It’s time to show the world that true climate leadership means a brighter future for all. December 12 will be one of San Diego’s biggest climate actions ever — can you join us?
Thanks to all of the supporting organizations: SanDiego350, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council – Environmental Caucus, California Nurses Association – National Nurses United, Climate Action Campaign, Stay Cool 4 Grandkids, Citizens Climate Lobby, American Federation of Teachers – Guild 1931, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – 569, San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice
First Annual Barrio Logan Music Festival
Saturday, December 12th, 5pm-1am ($25 donation)
Don Diego VFW Post 7420
2100 Logan Ave.
Updates & Info
A fundraising event featuring bands from Los Angeles, San Diego, Mexicali and Tijuana.
Second Annual March Against Police Brutality
Sunday, December 13th
Plaza de Balboa El Prado, Balboa Park
Updates & Info
2nd Annual March Against Police Brutality at Balboa Park. We will be gathering by the fountain at the R.H. Fleet building starting at 10:30 with speakers scheduled to start at 11:00. We will then be taking to our streets around 12:00 for a march that will be about same length as last years before returning to the park as a group.
On This Day: 1951 Ten days after an Illinois State mine inspector approved coal dust removal techniques at New Orient mine in West Frankfort, the mine exploded, apparently due to accumulated methane gas, killing 119 workers. 1972 – James Brown was arrested after a show in Knoxville, TN, and charged with “disorderly conduct” after being accused of trying to incite a riot. The charges were dropped when Brown threatens to sue for $1 million. 1998 – The Mars Climate Orbiter blasted off on a nine-month journey to the Red Planet. However, the probe disappeared in September of 1999, apparently destroyed because scientists had failed to convert English measures to metric values.
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