Communication rights, and
especially local and regional work to cement them at home, often gets
overlooked, but it is key to so many struggles for health, safety, and
MA has been here for 39 years, always on one kind of edge or another, and we want there to be a year 40. Please join us.
do we protect the right to dissent? Crackdowns on journalists,
whistleblowers and activists are legion as a toxic combination of greedy
telecoms and an unaccountable government try to plug every remaining
space for free expression and organizing. They won't rest until the
Internet is a toll road for big spenders, and a spy net for the rest of
the corporations that run the government won’t help dismantle their own
influence. The system that lulls us into complacency as our human
rights get whittled away wants us doing busy work, not challenging them.
Keeping the challenges going, steady and strong and right here at home
in California where we live and work together, that can only be
supported by you. Media Alliance will keep lighting the fire. With your
The arc of justice is realized by claiming the space to create alternate narratives.
got some great gifts for you, a 30% discount off the mind-bending
titles from MIT Press, including Low Power To The People, the chronicle
of the pirate radio movement. Local filmmaker Donna Lee's video story of
blogger Josh Wolf's 226 day stay in federal prison to protect his
videos, a crucial moment in the history of citizen journalism and
the brand new Hella Privacy t-shirt.
Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on June 6th, 2016 Media Alliance
On Thursday June 2nd, I
joined dozens of people who live or work in San Francisco's Mission
District at the San Francisco Planning Commission to speak up against
yet another huge luxury housing development proposed for the
neighborhood. The activist-dubbed “Beast on Bryant” adds 196 more
luxury units to a neighborhood already built out way in excess of the
Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, and removes tens of thousands of square
feet of badly needed light industrial space. The project was opposed
by the San Francisco Labor Council and the Building Trades Council.
While the Planning Commission's
tendency to rubber stamp housing projects is infamous and nobody
really expected the project would go down to defeat, the surprising
part of the day and evening spent at City Hall was the full court
press of the San Francisco Sheriff's department. Why were the
sheriffs intervening in Planning Commission decisions? Was this on
When I arrived at 3:00pm, the scene
outside of Room 400 at City Hall was complete chaos. Scores of burly
carpenters from the Northern CA Regional Carpenters Council all
wearing jackets saying “CIA”, were roaming the hallways along
with dozens of Mission District residents. The Carpenter's Council
had broken from the Building Trades Council and hatched an
independent deal with developer Nick Podell.
An inquiry at the door to the hearing
room led to being told by a sheriff the hallway was about to be
“cleared out”. Not wanting to be “cleared out”, (whatever
that meant), I tiptoed away and found a quiet spot some distance
About an hour later, I ventured back to
the hearing room, peered in, and saw 70% or more of the seats were
now occupied by the dozens of carpenters who had been milling about
in the hallway. There was a long line to the right of the door filled
with other people. I asked for admittance to the room as I was
planning to speak and was told to get in line, despite at least 5
visible empty seats in the room. I pointed out I had been there an
hour ago and had been told to leave or get cleared away. I wasn't
told to get in a line. So why was I not at the front of this line?
That didn't go over well.
After being invited inside the hearing
room by a colleague on a bathroom break who told me there was a seat
empty behind her, I found myself accosted by the Sheriff insisting I
could not sit there. I asked point blank if all the seated people had
arrived more than 90 minutes ago, as I had, and if they all intended
to address the commission on the item now up. The sheriff raised his
voice and the meeting was briefly interrupted. I left to avoid
further disruptions and spent another 90 minutes in the hallway line
watching numerous people being admitted to the room in front of the
people in line.
Eventually, we hallway people observed
that names were being called to speak during public comment although
the people called had still had not been admitted to the room and
were in the hallway line, or an even bigger group in an overflow room
way down the hall, or simply idling elsewhere in the building. We
attempted to exchange names and install a runner system to notify
people if their names had been called for public comment.
After finally being admitted, more than
three hours after arrival and after three aggressive encounters with
the sheriffs, I was escorted to a seat between two carpenters. In the
two and a half hours I spent in that seat waiting for my three
minutes to address the Planning Commission, I had a ringside seat to
the phenomenon called man-spreading as occupancy of my seat was
I finally addressed the Commission,
mostly to say the luxury housing threshold in the 25 year duration
Eastern Neighborhoods Plan had already been surpassed in the first
seven years, the anticipated loss of light industrial space was at
2/3 of the limit in 1/3 of the time anticipated and I wasn't sure
where the “planning” was in Planning Commission. I tried to hang
in for the duration of the hearing, but was defeated by the
incursions into my sitting space. There were thoughts about the
discreet use of elbows, but I figured the sheriffs were clearly not
on my side should there be an altercation.
Neither of the two carpenters
surrounding me, nor 99% of the 70+ filling up the meeting room, made
a public comment to the commission despite occupying virtually all
the seats for hours on end.
To get to the end of the story, the
Beast on Bryant project was approved. Mission District residents were
successful in getting a significant increase in the amount of light
industrial space that would be recreated in the new project. They
deserve plaudits for that hard-won victory.
But many of the people who just wanted
to speak their piece about what was happening in their neighborhood
experienced inconvenience, harassment, discomfort, unpleasantness and
intimidation. They came, not on a payroll but on their own dime, and
definitely took second fiddle to an organized campaign designed to
make it as hard as possible for them to have their say. That's just
As the FCC debates the modernization of the Lifeline telephone subsidy program to include Internet access for the first time, Media Alliance and the Media Action Grassworks Network (Mag-Net) are taking action to make sure the agency hears from the program's users, its potential users in the future, and the communities most impacted by lack of broadband access.
TheLifeline Story Bankwill collect written testimonies, pictures and short audio or video clips and deliver them directly to the policy makers and the press to make sure DC just doesn't just talk to themselves.
So if you use or might use the program yourself, have friends or family members who do, work with or know of an organization that provides services to seniors, people living on fixed incomes, the disabled, limited english-fluency populations, recent immigrants, single moms or anyone on the wrong side of the digital divide:
Take a moment to
1) Download our Story Bank Toolkit, a quick guide to everything you need to know about Lifeline and submitting a story to the Bank
2) Visit the easy submission formand tell them what subsidized broadband access in the home means to you and your community.
seeks to discover why her WWII veteran father’s personality radically
transformed from that of a non-political Kennedy Democrat to an angry
right-wing fanatic after his discovery of Talk Radio and Fox News. She
pulls back the curtain on the wizards behind the right-wing media
phenomenon, and through interviews with Noam Chomsky, David Brock, Jeff
Cohen, George Lakoff, Claire Connor, Dr. Kathleen Taylor, Frank Luntz
and others, uncovers the true story of the behind-the-scenes strategies
designed to shift the national discourse to the Right. Matthew Modine
produces and narrates with Senko.
An op-ed on the FCC review of retransmission rules and their potentially destructive impact on low-income audiences whose access to pay TV and high-speed broadband is limited due to affordability issues.
A founding principle of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is protecting the public interest in communications - in television, radio, internet and new emerging mediums. In a country of increasing diversity,
the public interest is not a "one size fits all" proposition. In the
United States of 2016, the public interest must serve a Spanish-speaking
mother in Los Angeles as well as it serves a rural rancher in South
Dakota or a millennial urbanite in Brooklyn.
As an industry, broadcast television has long served the largest number of Americans with its mass, free, over-the-air broadcasts.
For this reason, Media Alliance finds it troubling that the FCC's
current re-examination of the rules for exclusivity may jeopardize local
broadcast television as it exists today. The Commission is in the process
of reexamining rules which allow broadcasters to negotiate the terms of
use for broadcast content to be disseminated to cable providers.
As it stands, broadcasters count on the revenue stream that comes
from content negotiations with pay-TV providers. If the current system
is upended, some local stations across the country will face the very
real possibility of having to shut down due to a lack of adequate
funding, because they are not being compensated for their own content.
If stations were forced to shut down, it would be the stations that
do not garner the most viewers - including stations that serve minority
communities, for example. Spanish-language broadcast networks - such as
Univision or Telemundo - are often not viewed at the high levels of
their English-language counterparts such as NBC or CBS, simply because
many communities have fewer Spanish-speaking residents. Yet, these
stations are sometimes the only avenue for low-income families who
cannot afford other types of media to get their news and information:
from severe weather alerts, to community events, to a roundup of local
and national news. If these stations were forced to shut their doors
because of fewer viewers, many families that depend upon them could be
quite literally left in the dark
The current exclusivity rules preserve diversity in broadcast
programming. And while there is nowhere near enough diversity, taking
actions to further reduce it in order to increase profit levels for
cable providers is not in the public interest.
Media Alliance has long been interested in protecting diversity in
media, and holding government accountable for any action taken to
decrease diversity in favor of increased corporate profits. It is clear
that any action taken by the FCC to change these rules will have a
disproportionately negative impact on small, over-the-air broadcasters, many who are minority-owned or serve minority audiences.
We believe that the current exclusivity rules should be preserved by
the FCC. Any change to these regulations is a win for Big Cable and a
terrible loss for small broadcasters across the country and the local
communities in which they serve. The "public interest" that the FCC must
protect includes Americans who have affordability challenges with pay
TV and high-speed broadband access and the FCC must recognize this when
considering how it should act on this important issue.
Tracy Rosenberg is the Executive Director of Media Alliance,
based in Northern California. Media Alliance is a member of
On January 26, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
will hold a poorly publicized public hearing in LA on whether to
approve the merger of Charter Cable with Time Warner and Bright House
Networks. People with good memories may recall that not long ago, a
merger between Comcast and Time Warner was the subject of a public
hearing. That LA hearing played a really big role in the Comcast
merger’s demise, as Southern Californians showed up in droves to
avoid forcible absorption into “America’s Most Hated Company (two
times in a row!).
But Charter Cable is no happy ending. Chief Charter shareholder
John Malone was dubbed the “Darth Vader” of cable for his
aggressive (and shady) business practices as head of TCI. The
nation’s single largest landowner in 2011, Malone, if this merger
goes through, will own 25% of the second largest broadband provider
in the country (after Comcast), and will have a huge influence on the
future of the Internet.
Charter is a player in the plethora of industry
lawsuits against the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, which are
wildly popular with Americans
So it ain’t just about cable.
What are Charter and Malone’s plans for the second biggest
broadband provider in the country? It bears repeating that Charter is
a player in the plethora of industry lawsuits against the FCC’s net
neutrality regulations, which are wildly popular with Americans who
flooded the FCC with a record-breaking number of comments in the lead
up to the February rule-making. It was probably the only FCC
proceeding to ever be featured on late night television as John
Oliver begged FCC chief Tom Wheeler not to be the “dingo who steals
the baby”. Wheeler wasn’t a dingo as it turned out, but the
industry has not taken their defeat lying down.
But merger applicants always come to regulators bearing sweets and
Charter is no exception. They have pledged not to engage in a variety
of unpopular and anti-competitive practices: throttling, blocking,
paid prioritization, data caps, zero rating and interconnection fees.
For three years. And just for three years. After that, we’ll
just have to take their word for it.
Charter’s expert paid witness, an Ivy League economist named
Fiona Scott Morton assures us: “Current trends suggest that
broadband competition will limit any anti-competitive conduct in
The current trend is that 55% of Americans can only access one
source for high-speed broadband service and most of the rest can only
choose from two. If the premise of competition is that consumers can
dump services they don’t like and replace them with services they
like better, where are consumers supposed to go?
Captive audiences don’t usually get the best deals from big
corporations. The record of increased media concentration is clear:
higher prices, worse service and less choices for you. Post-merger,
Comcast and New Charter would corner the market on 90% of all high
speed broadband access in California. That’s a duopoly. And it’s
not competitive in the least.
So if you depend on the Internet to do your work, connect with
your friends and family and access information about the world,
you’ve got a lot to lose.
Come out on January 26th at 6:00pm to the Junipero State Building
at 320 West 4th Street in Downtown LA and take your one or two
minutes to say “Hey, public here, and I don’t think I’m getting
much out of this deal.
Charter Cable Purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House
Networks Application Public Participation Hearing Tuesday
January 26 at 6:00pm Junipero Serra State Building, Carmel
Room 320 West 4th Street Los Angeles CA
Posted on January 21, 2016
About Tracy Rosenberg
Tracy Rosenberg has worked as Media Alliance's Executive Director
since 2007. She has organized and advocated for a free, accountable
and accessible media system, focusing on the protection and
sustainability of alternative media outlets monitored the mainstream
media for accuracy and fair representation and facilitated the
training of numerous nonprofit organizations and citizen's groups in
effective communications. She blogs on media policy at the Huffington
Post and is published frequently in newspapers and blogs around the
country. She currently sits on the board of the Alliance for
Community Media Western Region and serves on the anchor committee of
the Media Action Grassroots Network.
Media Alliance is pleased to be a media sponsor for this series of conversations:
Recording in Progress is a series of panel discussions about
innovation and new developments in technology, entertainment, culture,
business, art and design.
Moderated by Tara Conley (Race Forward), this discussion on
media, tech and social justice includes panelists Susan Simpson
(Undisclosed), Jackie Zammuto (WITNESS), Carmen Perez (Justice League
NYC) and Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer (Global Citizen).
Posted by Dorothy Kidd on University of San Francisco
This brief academic paper by USF Media Studies Professor and former MA board member Dorothy Kidd examines democratized media in Honduras and South Korea.
"Some 30 years after the commission’s publication of Many Voices, One World, I analyze the contribution of contemporary grassroots communication praxis to the democratization of communications practice and theory. Because if the neoliberal shift captured global information and communication systems for corporate giants and state powers, it also created conditions of radical possibility. Media activists around the world have appropriated technologies that were first designed for military, state and capitalist apparatuses, and have reshaped them to meet urgent information and communication needs of majority populations underserved by commercial or public service media. As the MacBride Report promised, these media have provided living examples of more democratic communication.
The Honduran Network of Indigenous and Garífuna Radios, andMediACT in South Korea, exemplify this movement to democratize communications from within social justice movements. South Korea is a relatively wealthy, urban and industrialized country, and one of the most digitally connected nations in the world; whereas Honduras is primarily rural, with high rates of poverty, and where only 4.5 percent of Hondurans have regular access to the internet. Nevertheless, people in both countries share long struggles for democratization against colonialism and military rule, and more recent pressures to conform to neoliberal development agendas. Operating in very different national contexts, the Honduran Radio Network and MediACT are both deeply embedded within local centers, linked together through a complex web of global social justice movements and radical communicators, who are connected both face to face and online.
If you missed the October 8th Civicmakers Salon on public broadband in San Francisco, here's a recap:
Last Thursday civic tech enthusiasts, local
government representatives and telecommunications industry
professionals gathered together to discuss what the future of public
broadband in San Francisco looks like. This was third event CivicMakers has hosted on the issue, and momentum is building, as evidenced from a standing room only crowd at the event.
A decade after the city’s first initiative
to bring free city-wide wi-fi to its citizens the lack of public
broadband is again a hot topic and there is growing consensus that we
need to find a solution. As we learned, there is no question about the
necessity of making internet accessible to all however finding the right
approach is a bit more complicated. The question is as much about
technology as it is about people, access, and fairness.
Our emcee and CivicMakers co-founder, Brian
Purchia set the tone for the evening, “We are going to solve this
problem — it will happen. What is it going to take? And who is
responsible for making this so? That’s what tonight’s event is about.”
The Chairman and CEO of Orange, Stéphane
Richard, started the discussion by sharing some examples from France. He
pointed that while Europeans are constantly learning from the Silicon
Valley, there are a few things that work well in Europe that San
Francisco could learn. One such example is offering fiber optic cable at
a price that makes it truly accessible to all.
There was a general agreement about the
importance of fast internet not only for a more connected city, but for
deeper economic implications. Today, over 100,000 people in San
Francisco don’t have access to internet at all while 50,000 are using
dial-up connection. In today’s connected world a digital divide like
that equals economic disadvantage.
CPUC Commissioner Catherine Sandoval noted
that availability of broadband speed internet will become a crucial part
of urban competitiveness of cities, just like rent. She highlighted the
need to learn more about people who do not have access so the
government could best help them. As California brings Internet to
under-served and un-served areas of California classifying certain urban
areas as such might be a part of the solution.
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell emphasized that internet is a necessity, not a privilege, and as such a basic economic right.
There is a very real digital divide that exists in San Francisco that
the city is trying to solve. The report that is due to come out soon
will address potential solutions for the problem and it is important to
act on it soon as possible since the need for it won’t go away. New
proposed legislation includes solutions such as mandating that
construction projects lay a public conduit line for future access when
they lay down fiber.
Jay Nath, the Chief Innovation Officer at
the City of San Francisco reviewed some public broadband benefits and
challenges. On the one hand there are things like universal access,
bridging the digital divide, and the economic and educational
opportunities associated with it, which are all positive. On the other
hand the city needs to take into consideration some challenges, most
notably the scale of public investment, the fact that while it has been
done in many small cities few bigger ones have implemented it, and
predatory incumbent practices.
During the panel discussion we heard many
interesting perspectives on different issues related to making
universally accessible public broadband a reality. Three key takeaways
from the panel were that the public broadband access is a political
issue, that access is critical on multiple issues, and that there is big
infrastructure involved that will have impact of both privacy as well
as the role of government in communications.
This is a problem that is going to be
solved. There is a growing chorus of CivicMakers that want to help make
it so, including in that is our extensive list of co-sponsors for the
event, Startup Policy Lab, Mozilla, Free Press.net, The Greenling
Institute, Demand Progress, Media Alliance, Engine, EFF, Internet
Archive, Zero Divide, and the Community Technology Network. We will keep
you posted with updates and share the City Hall report when it is
released. Stay tuned!
Parker, who founded and directed the Communications office at the United Church of Christ, won a historic lawsuit causing the first ever broadcasting license to be removed for failure to serve the public interest and continued to advocate for unbiased broadcasting for decades following. His NY Times obituary is below.
Rest in power, Reverend Parker. You set an example for us all.
Rev. Everett C. Parker, who won a landmark broadcasting case and led a
civil rights crusade to hold television and radio stations accountable
for presenting racially biased programming and for failing to hire
blacks and other minorities, died on Thursday in White Plains. He was
death was announced by the United Church of Christ, where he was the
founder and longtime director of its Office of Communications. With
church support, he used the office as his civil rights platform for 30
a nation with a history of racial discrimination, it was not unusual
decades ago for minorities to be ignored or to have their dignity
trampled on radio and television. Station executives, under no pressure
from federal regulators, gave little thought to segregated shows or
on-the-air slurs, let alone to minority hiring.
as the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1960s, Dr. Parker, a
minister and director of communications for the socially conscious,
1.75-million-member United Church of Christ, began to survey the
performances of radio and television stations in the South. He
identified WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss., as a flagrant purveyor of racist
blacks made up 43 percent of the viewing audience, he found, the
station did not cover civil rights news or the black community and often
referred to blacks pejoratively on the air. Typically the only blacks
shown on WLBT were in police custody. Dr. Parker, who had worked in
broadcasting, asked the National Association of Broadcasters to issue
guidelines to give blacks a more positive presence on television, but
the industry group refused.
behalf of his church and some viewers, he petitioned the Federal
Communications Commission in 1964 to deny WLBT a license renewal for
failing to serve the public interest, as required by law. The F.C.C.
conceded the facts but dismissed the petition, saying the church, and
even viewers, had no standing to challenge the license. Only
broadcasters or others with an “economic” interest had such standing,
the commission said.
thought that through,” Dr. Parker recalled years later, “and concluded
that the public did have ‘standing,’ and an economic interest, because
they owned radios and television sets.”
appeal was filed, and in 1966, Warren E. Burger, then a federal
appellate judge, recognized the right of the church and viewers to
petition the F.C.C. But after a hearing, the commission renewed the
station’s license, leading to another appeal. In 1969, Judge Burger,
soon to be chief justice of the United States, ruled that the F.C.C.’s
record in the case was “beyond repair” and ordered WLBT’s license
nearly five decades of operation,” Judge Burger wrote, “the broadcast
industry does not seem to have grasped the simple fact that a broadcast
license is a public trust subject to termination for breach of duty.”
decision marked the first time that a license had been lifted for a
station’s failure to serve the public interest, and it established the
right of ordinary citizens to challenge a license. It began a new era of
heightened sensitivity by the F.C.C. and broadcasters to communities
with the power to threaten licenses, Dr. Parker, in the 1970s and ’80s,
joined other religious and civic groups — the Citizens’ Communications
Center, the Media Access Project and Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen
organization, among others — in challenging television and radio
stations on broadcast content and other issues, including employment
another petition by Dr. Parker showing that minorities were
underrepresented in the industry, the F.C.C. issued rules banning unfair
employment practices by broadcasters. But Dr. Parker found that
informal meetings with station executives, rather than federal
complaints, often led to reforms in hiring and content.
Parker recruited volunteers in many cities to monitor broadcasters’
programs and hiring practices. He widened his campaign to include
network, cable and telecommunications policies; set up programs to train
minority broadcasters; produced documentaries and children’s programs,
wrote several books, and lectured at Fordham University in the Bronx. He
became known as the dean of civil rights reforms in broadcasting.
we’ve ever wanted to do is make it possible for people to express
themselves through the system of broadcasting,” he told The New York
Times when he retired in 1983. “If broadcasters are to serve the public
interest, they need to be reminded that they serve all the publics.”
Carlton Parker was born on Jan. 17, 1913, in Chicago. He graduated from
the University of Chicago in 1935, joined the Depression-era Works
Progress Administration in Washington as a radio producer, and in
1936-37 was the station manager of WJBW in New Orleans. In 1938, he
opened an advertising agency in Chicago, but gave it up a year later to
train for the ministry. In 1939 he married the former Geneva Jones. She
died in 2004.
Parker is survived by his daughters, Ruth Weiss and Eunice Kolczun; a
son, the Rev. Truman E. Parker; seven grandchildren and seven
Parker earned his doctorate in 1943 from the Chicago Theological
Seminary. He worked for NBC in New York as a war program manager, and
from 1945 to 1957 taught communications at Yale Divinity School. In
1954, he created a public relations office for the Congregational
Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, which became
the United Church of Christ in a 1957 merger.
in 2012 by the website Broadband & Social Justice how he would like
to be remembered, Dr. Parker said, “I want them to remember that I was a
guy who fought like the devil for the rights of minorities.”
Rev. J. Bennett Guess, a former executive director of the Office of
Communications, suggested in a statement that Dr. Parker’s legacy would
be far broader.
lifelong clarity and insistence that ethics, accessibility, diversity
and social justice are central to, not peripheral to, a fair and
effective media forever changed the landscape of broadcast journalism in
this country,” he was quoted as
saying on the church’s website on Friday. “By challenging previously
unchallenged assumptions about media ownership and access, he altered
the course of U.S. media history and skewed it toward fuller inclusion
for all people. His remarkable courage and tenacity will be forever
remembered by history.”
A Review of American Daydream by Margot Eve Pepper
American Day Dream is situated in San Francisco and embedded in the things we love about the Bay Area, but also lodged in the rear corner of our minds that hasn't forgotten the Snowden revelations of June 2013. Or Cointelpro. Or every bit of sickening evidence that we are less free than we think.
In the long tradition of dystopian science fiction, but imbued with a humane and strongly feminist tilt, American Day Dream grabs hold of the red pill/blue pill dilemma of Hollywood's Matrix, but without all the futuristic shiny toys.
What if, right here and right now and right down the block, everything we see and do and own, isn't real? Job, home and friends are all a carefully planted illusion to keep us circling a hamster wheel for a social order running for the benefit of others.
In American Day Dream, the gadgets we love don't connect us to humanity. They are the tool that traps us into dreams and prevents us from seeing our own imprisonment.
The novel addresses the price of looking up from the screen into the void. What would you say to the person who tells you reality isn't real? Would you love them or hate them, or both at the same time?
The protagonist, a Marin-residing graphic designer with a seemingly cushy job at a biotech firm in downtown SF, temporarily breaks his circuits and faces a dilemma: remember that crack in the fabric of appearances or forget it as quickly as he can.
As he walks the road to choosing frightening reality or comforting dream world, the designer ponders who he used to be before his cushy condo, how friends, family and acquaintances reconcile their own illusions and what life might be like outside the penal colony.
And he meets a woman.
American Day Dream asks us to consider the joys, and the dangers, of authentic existence when the human experience isn't what we thought it was. When the price of the little compromises is more expensive than we ever imagined and everything we thought was true about life, really wasn't.
There is still a choice to be made in the world of American Day Dream, but time is running out on the dreamers. Jailbreaking isn't just for i-phones. It's for all of us before there is nothing left but pretty trappings on top of a penal colony.
In a society where we are being watched more than we can fully grasp, the distance between American Day Dream's Bay Area and our own is shrinking.
It's a small step between dawn to dusk surveillance and planting us in a customized-just-for-us existence to meet all of our needs as incarcerated worker bees.
American Day Dream makes that leap and then paints the picture of what the hesitant walk along the road of resistance might look like - without the superpowers of Neo - for just a guy and a girl in Northern California.
Posted by Alfredo Lopez on August 4th, 2015 MayFirst/PeopleLink
Attackers continued their assault on May First/People Link operations Monday evening shutting down the organization's website at https://mayfirst.org. All other services continue operating.
The Denial of Service attack targeted the website but, as collateral
damage, much of May First's hosting system was paralyzed for a short
time about 11:00 pmMonday evening. May First technologists restored all services except May First's own website, the specific target, by 11:30 pm.
The attack follows several days of Denial of Service attacks on May
First servers, targeting specifically May First member the National
Network of Abortion Funds whose website, http://fundabortionnow.org
was down for almost a day last week. That attack appears to have been
part of the campaign aimed at the pro-choice movement which included the
attacks last week on Planned Parenthood and various pro-choice
Today's action is the first time the attackers have targeted the May First/People Link website specifically.
"We consider our organization attacked when one of our members is
targeted so we've been under attack for several days now," according of
Jamie McClelland, MF/PL Leadership Committee member. "But the targeting
of our website means that these people are not just focusing on the
issue of abortion or trying to repress communication about it but
punishing an organization that allows that communication. This isn't
about choice specifically, this is about May First/People Link and,
because of who we are, it's about an entire movement in two countries."
Technologists continue working to return the website to service. No other services are affected at this time.
May First/People Link is a political progressive membership organization
specializing in Internet work and the sharing of services with most
members in the United States and Mexico. It is the largest organization
of its kind in either country.
Earlier this month, the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) issued a request
for comments on how consumers are being charged for video-related
services, the notice they are given before these costs appear on
their monthly cable bill and whether these fees cause consumers to
pay higher prices than the company’s advertised rates for monthly
service. The FCC has always had jurisdiction over how common
carriers, broadcast, wireless, satellite, cable companies and other
telecom entities address consumer interests in their business
According to the FCC
website, through the Consumer Policy division, they are “…tasked
with issuing orders to resolve complaints about unauthorized changes
in local telecommunication providers (slamming); conducting
rulemakings on slamming, truth-in-billing telemarketing and fax
advertising; and monitoring informal inquiries and complaints to
identify trends that affect consumers.” Unfortunately, many
advocates believe that the focus on consumers has been sidelined
since the passage of The
1996 Telecommunications Act. While the act spurred innovative
platforms for video distribution and creative content for internet
users, it was to the detriment of cable subscribers who realized no
real benefits, and instead have experienced nearly two decades of
limited choices for service, rising monthly prices and deteriorating
customer service. With consolidation happening at a breakneck speed
in the cable and broadband markets, it is time that the focus of our
21st century video market policy-making process be placed squarely on
the protection of the consumer.
For this reason, Media Alliance
applauds the FCC’s undertaking to augment their next video
competition report with detailed pricing data and information through
their comment process. We have long advocated for increased
transparency when it comes to the billing practices of pay-TV and
broadband providers and are further encouraged that the FCC’s
action is not an isolated incident.
Washington, D.C. are increasingly losing their patience with the
unscrupulous practices of the pay-TV industry and are calling for
inquiries with the interest of consumers in mind. Last
year, Senator McCaskill asked probing questions of cable providers
who experienced first-hand how cable operators have overcharged and
misled consumers with complicated fee structures and surcharges.
Time and time again, McCaskill has sought to bring accountability to
the pay-TV industry by calling for legislative hearings around cable
The momentum continued with a letter
on July 9 from Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie
Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) calling for the FCC to
collect detailed pricing data on broadband and cable services on a
state-by-state basis and comparatively in rural versus urban areas.
Their letter also recognizes the lack of competition in the pay-TV
industry citing that fact that only “37 percent of Americans have
more than one option for high-speed broadband providers.” The
senators declared that a lack of competitive choices and a
marketplace that continues to move toward more consolidation has left
Americans with “de facto telecommunications monopolies” across
the nation. These are factors that need to be addressed at a granular
level by federal regulators.
The FCC’s action to collect broadband
and pay-TV pricing data will go a long way in helping consumers
better understand exactly what it is they are paying for in their
monthly bills. The pay-TV companies have this information. We
simply need our leaders in Washington D.C. to ask the right questions
so that regulators can then deconstruct the fees, surcharges,
equipment rentals and other miscellaneous costs.
Thanks to leaders in the nation’s
capital, we are taking the first step towards creating greater
pricing and billing transparency for consumers of pay-TV and/or
Internet subscription services in America.
Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on July 22nd, 2015 Media Alliance
The Media Alliance 2015 Northern California Press List is out!
The 2015 Northern California Press List provides 1200+ media
contacts in an easy-to-manipulate Excel spreadsheet, including
daily/weekly newspapers, televison and radio stations, hyperlocal news
websites, and selected national alternative press.
Media Alliance produces this community press list to help nonprofits
and activists reach the media consistently without having to pay the
prohibitive prices charged by commercial public relations efforts.
Pair your press list with a Media How To Guide, if you haven't already, to get everything you need to know for low-cost high-impact guerilla publicity.
The press list retails for $50 (discounted for MA members) so make sure to let people know about it who could benefit from the resource.
Our new telephone number as of May 4, 2015 will be (415) 746-9475. ED Tracy Rosenberg can also be reached directly via mobile phone at 510-684-6853, which is unchanged.
The good news: The new space will provide the classroom, workshop and event space that Media Alliance has been missing in Oakland, contained within a new vibrant art space with lots of cross-fertilization and fun, creative things going on.
Being a part of the community will allow us to permanently lower our rent while increasing our physical capacity in a long-term secure space dedicated to art and social justice, freeing us from the commercial real estate market and the exploding costs in our adopted Oakland home.
It was a difficult decision to leave Oakland, a city MA has grown to love after the forced exodus from San Francisco in 2005, but the long-term security and stability of the nonprofit in today's always-challenging financial conditions was our first priority. Media Alliance intends to continue robust participation in public policy throughout the Bay Area, but especially on both sides of the Bay, which are both our professional and personal homes.
There will be a little moving upheaval during the last week of April and first week of May, but bear with us and we'll do our best to be fully up and running as quickly as possible.
And stay tuned for classes and events. We've heard you these past few years about wanting more of that, and this new office is designed with more public events and workshops in mind.
Thank you for your support and sharing the excitement of this move with us. Any helping hands in the last week of April for the schlepping of boxes are very very welcome.
Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on June 5th, 2015 Media Alliance
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dealt a blow to cable regulation when Chair Tom Wheeler declined to join democratic commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel in dropping the presumption of effective cable competition in most cities and counties.
The presumption means that the burden of proof to assert that cable competition is insufficient falls on city and state governments who must mount a case to prove their point. Failing a monumental effort on their part, federal regulators will presume that effective cable competition exists.
Clyburn and Rosenworcel argued that "streamlining" should not take the form of an expedited process to avoid oversight and accused the agency of racing past the statutory requirements and providing such broad relief to cable companies as to increase burdens on local franchising authorities and potentially result in price increases for consumers.
However, FCC chair Tom Wheeler voted in favor of the presumption and it passed the commission on a 3-2 vote.
Media Alliance agrees with Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel and hails them for their attempts to preserve oversight by franchising authorities and not streamline away local cable regulation.
Below is the public interest letter sent by several organizations including MA asking the FCC not to presume effective cable competition.
This video produced by the Champaign-Urbana Independent Media Center and the Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice exposes the actions of phone service provider
Securus Technologies and the Illinois Department of Corrections in
gouging nearly $12 million a year from the families of the incarcerated
from over-priced phone call.
Sign the petition to encourage the FCC to finish reforming the prison phone call system and cap phone rates for all kinds of phone calls for good.