• Sidra Bell Dance New York presents San Francisco Season 2015 Unidentifiable; Bodies at Dance Mission
    sidrabellsf

    April 3-4, Friday-Saturday, 8pm
    Dance Mission Theatre
    3316 24th Street (corner Mission)
    San Francisco CA 94110
    Sidra Bell Dance New York presents
    San Francisco Season 2015 Unidentifiable; Bodies
    San Francisco Premiere
    TICKETS: $10 students; $20 general available info

    SIDRA BELL DANCE NEW YORK is rapidly gaining an international profile for their visceral work, which unravels the complexities of the human condition through a distinctly female lens. Bell’s creations have been described as brainy, exuberant, sensual and intensely physical.The work demands both physical power and tender expressiveness from her crack ensemble of fearless and technically honed dancers. more »

  • A Legendary Media Critic: Danny Schechter Was Our News Dissector (John Nichols)

    (editor’s note: I had the good fortune of meeting and very briefly working with Danny Schechter in the early 2000’s at New College of California when we consulted on a project to redevelop the curriculum for the Media Studies Program. The author of this article, John Nichols knew Schechter very well and understood the importance of his work and writes an obituary that gives Schechter the credit he deserves for his work in media studies, media criticism and activism. Nichols is co-founder along with Robert McChesney of Free Press.)

    Danny Schechter Was Our News Dissector

    It is impossible to fully explain media criticism — and media understanding — as it exists today without recognizing the remarkable contribution of Danny Schechter.

    Two years before Ben Bagdikian took apart the fantasy that American media was liberal, with The Elite Conspiracy and Other Crimes by the Press (Harper & Row), more than a decade before Bagdikian exposed the corporate infrastructure of news-gathering with The Media Monopoly (Beacon Press), more than 15 years before Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) began its ongoing exploration of the abuses and excesses of that corporate media, and almost 20 years before Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky put it all together with Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media (Pantheon), there was this news director on the coolest radio station in Boston, WBCN-FM, who started his daily show with the announcement, “This is Danny Schechter, your news dissector.”

    Dissecting the news was Schechter’s thing. He reported to listeners what was happening, then he explained why it was happening, and then he revealed why other media outlets did not tell the whole story. It was bold and daring, and the word of what Danny Schechter was doing on one progressive-rock station in Boston spread far and wide. “As ‘News Dissector’ on Boston radio,” recalled Chomsky, “Danny Schechter literally educated a generation.” – John Nichols

  • Radiolab Investigates The Facebook Social Engineering Experiments

    People who frequent Facebook and other social media networks took notice last month when the news broke that Facebook “Trust Engineers” had created a human behavior laboratory using real-time users to try and modify their feedback without their knowledge. This story created a brief uproar when it broke. WNYC’s Radiolab, a breakthrough experimental journalism podcast group uncovers the social engineering project and takes you behind the scenes for a glimpse at what many consider to be a scary proposition – that your every move is being watched by someone, somewhere at any given moment.

    Facebook engineer Arturo Bejar almost sounds sincere when he talks about the project, that it’s intended for good and means no harm. Too bad we can’t run our own experiment and have the ability to repeatedly submit differently worded questions over time and monitor their engineers answers, I wonder if we could tell if they really believe that.

     

    Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.

    Radiolab is heard around the country on more than 450 NPR member stations. Check your local station for airtimes.

     

  • Behind The Scenes: Private Equity Media Ownership in the U.S.

    MARK GOULD, March 18,2015

    As the author Matthew Crain points out in his International Journal of Communications article The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership in the United States: A Public Interest Perspective, most research and public discussion centers around the ownership and policies of corporate media, while there is generally less known about investments in the U.S. media sector by non-corporate financial institutions.

    While the media environment is a culture dominated by a hyper-capitalist generated ownership system fueled and controlled by mergers, acquisitions, investments and to some extent venture capital, given this reality, Crain examines private equity media investment in the larger context of a political-economic critical analysis of the function of the media in our democratic form of government and an evaluation based on that structure.

    Crain also points out that economic profitability is by no means the only critical basis for examining both the process and success of a media company or the media system. And as is the case with any critical or theoretical media analysis, a historical perspective is always an integral part of the analysis.

    In order to forge public opinion and communicate public will to power, complex democracy requires a multitude of viable public spheres of which the media system is a core institutional component. The historic role of the press as the “fourth estate” encompasses providing checks against the abuse of governmental (and private) power and disseminating to the public informed opinions about the issues of the day, but it can only fulfill this role if it is incorporated into a larger media system that supports these democratic ideals. – Matthew Crain

    For example few people under the age of 40 would remember that before the media was all but completely deregulated under Reagan and since, during 30 plus years of conservative political and judicial policy undoing of these regulations, FCC rules were enforced viewing ownership and financial control as matters of the public interest. That’s still the FCC’s mission and there are a few of those rules left. (Given the FCC’s February vote to preserve open internet net neutrality rules, there will now be calls to defund the FCC.) There are still cross ownership media rules still on the FCC’s books that limit the number of TV, radio and newspapers that can be owned by one company in a given demographic market but in general any limits on the number of media businesses that a company could own were legislated out of existence, as were any federal incentives for family or small business, local ownership. And as you’ll see, private equity investors have found loopholes in the media ownership regulations anyway.

    There is still an Equal Time rule on the books in the hopes that media outlets would allow time for balanced viewpoints on matters of public importance, but the rule doesn’t apply to news, talk shows or syndicated information programming. But in the 1980’s the broader and now defunct Fairness Doctrine, that for many years required stations to provide time to the discussion of controversial public issues and to have demonstrated that they did so in a fair and balanced manner. There wasn’t a Fox News Channel or other political propaganda channels back then because of policies like the Fairness Doctrine, it was generally seen as a good thing, as was the mission, oversight and governance of the FCC. Those were the days.

    As representatives of the public, the FCC has long been charged with the responsibility for ensuring the public’s vital interest in so many important areas concerning media ownership, programming, access and upholding the media’s role in a democratic form of government. As Crain writes in this important study, with the increasing number of private equity firms acquiring newspapers, TV and radio stations, broadcast networks, film studios and broadband internet media companies, there exists the potential for information that would be in the public interest to be removed concerning financial profits and losses, and, effective regulation strategies could be at risk given reduced scrutiny of private equity media ownership.

    Put a different way, author and communications analyst Jay Taber from The Public Good Project writes in Illuminating Private Equity,

    Many understand that consolidation and deregulation have allowed large corporations to control media and information, but few comprehend how the ultra wealthy have destroyed accountability, transparency and the public interest in broadcasting, radio, digital and print news production and distribution. ” – Jay Taber

    In fact, according to Crain, the wealthy elite have easy access to the legal and investment help they need to sidestep media ownership limits:

    Media ownership limits only apply to those groups or individuals classified by the FCC as “attributable owners.” In the Byzantine world of private equity investment, it behooves fund managers to avoid this categorization if possible, else risk having investment opportunities blocked by ownership caps. In the standard merger and acquisition review process of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, private equity firms are known to argue that they do not control the operational aspects of the companies in which they invest (Sorkin & Edmonston, 2006). Since the FCC classifies all limited partners as “attributable owners,” private equity firms must pursue other means to avoid ownership attribution. One such strategy is outlined in a brief produced by corporate law firm Wilmer Hale, whereby the legal means to sidestepping the FCC’s “draconian” regulations simply involve the insertion of “insulating provisions into the fund’s organizational documents” (Wilmer, 2007).

    And as Taber adds, American corporate owned media rarely informs us about the inner workings of private equity investments and their relationship with banking institutions.

    Able to evade or avoid regulation associated with publicly traded stocks, private equity firms and consortiums — using holding companies and investment banks — have conducted immense leveraged buyouts that literally ruin companies. Through debt burdens, asset liquidation and wholesale employee termination, the private equity firms enable cash extraction that has imperiled mainstream media, leaving a hollowed out shell, where replacement of journalism by public relations is commonplace.

    “Private equity firms,” remarks Cain, “are fundamentally non-transparent in their basic structure…Whereas publicly traded companies are legally obligated to periodically file extensive financial information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including detailed accounts of all holdings and subsidiaries, private firms are not subject to such financial disclosures.” This, says Crain, is “antithetical to the public interest obligations of the media sector.”

    The article is an important read because we all need to have an ongoing, informed discussion about the nature of media and communications in the U.S., instead of sitting back and watching it happen. Wouldn’t you like it if you didn’t have to watch political pundits posing as news anchors telling you to accept all of their opinions, which is what they’re selling you, and instead have the chance to watch programs that want to report the news, and attribute the facts! Get involved!

    International Journal of Communication
    Public Good Project

    Crain, M. (2009). The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership in the United States: A Public Interest Perspective. International Journal Of Communication, 3, 32. Retrieved from http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/381/307

    Copyright © 2009 (Matthew Crain). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at http://ijoc.org.

    Download (PDF, 246KB)

     

  • California Street, San Francisco – Limited Edition Prints (5)

    I will only sell five of this illustration with a certificate and archival large format sizes at Daylighted:

    California   Street - Mark Gould Illustration

    More art at markgould.net

  • Why The #OpenInternet Is Important for Artists and Art Organizations

    from Americans For The Arts:

    What is “net neutrality?”

    It’s the idea that your Internet service provider (ISP), like Verizon or Comcast, doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Internet traffic-meaning throttling or blocking legal content that you want to access or share. A company also can’t pay your ISP to speed up service for certain sites.

    A lot is at stake. At the heart of the issue is how to ensure an open Internet that preserves everyone’s ability to communicate freely online to learn, engage, express themselves, innovate, and be entrepreneurial. The open architecture of the Internet has created unprecedented opportunities for artists, cultural organizations, and entrepreneurs.

    How did we get here?

    As you know, we have been tracking developments. In July, we encouraged arts advocates to take action and submit a comment to the FCC. We took our own advice and were one of the more than 4 million Americans who submitted comments to the FCC as they were in light of the lawsuit that threw out the previous net neutrality rule. The topic was prominent during some of our arts & technology national policy roundtables and emerged as a clear grassroots movement – boosted further by John Oliver’s amusing coverage of the topic.

    For several years, net neutrality concerns have been a part of our annual message to Congress, as part of Arts Advocacy Day. Moreover, in the days right before last week’s FCC ruling, more than 85 artists, organized by the Future of Music Coalition, weighed in showing support for the FCC Chairman’s anticipated plan, including members of R.E.M.Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, and OK Go. Artists also united together before there even was an official public comment period, including Eddie VedderMichael StipeNeko CaseErin McKeown, FugaziMark Ruffalo and Evangeline Lilly, who wrote to support protecting the open Internet as a vehicle for free expression and  collaboration.

    Last week’s ruling

    In a widely anticipated ruling on February 26, the FCC ruled – in a split (3-2) vote and along party lines - to reclassify broadband as a utility, which would give the commission more regulatory power over Internet providers. It would be regulated like your water or electricity. Here is an FCC fact sheet.

    What happens now?

    s mentioned, the FCC vote was divisive and has resulted in some members of Congress looking for a legislative solution. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Greg Walden (R-OR) are working on their own alternative plan for net-neutrality policy. Members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee also have penned sharp opposition to the FCC rule. Legal action is expected. Plus, there are different opinions on whether new state and local fees might come to your service bills.

    Arts Advocacy DayOn Arts Advocacy Day – March 24th, Americans for the Arts, along with 85 national cosponsors and 400+ arts advocates will share their message of support for net neutrality with members of Congress. Throughout the year, we will continue tracking the legislative response to this net neutrality ruling, and make sure you know when your voice needs to be heard so that artists and creative entrepreneurs can continue to reach audiences, build businesses, and share their work.

    More about Arts Advocacy Day »

     

  • Big D, Small d: Democratic Values Show Signs Of Life At The FCC

    Life In The Fast Lane: You’ll Still Have To Pay For The Privilege Of Accessing The Internet, But For Now The Framework For Net Neutrality and Equal Access Lives On

    MARK GOULD, MARCH 1, 2015

    Have you ever stopped and thought about why it is that free unfettered access to the Internet has been taken away by a few big corporations over the last 15 years, right before your eyes, yet many Americans don’t seem concerned, or even remember how the net got started. So a very brief history lesson might be in order to put things in proper perspective.

    Most people who were around before the Internet remember it was the late 1980’s when the genie came out of the bottle. Once the province of the military, the government and academic researchers, public access to the internet became a reality after years of work by the men and women who pioneered the enabling technology. The Internet was almost entirely non-commercial, access was free at first and then at what was a very affordable price from any number of local service providers, and there was no surveillance. Things have indeed, changed. Media activist and historian Robert McChesney says a lot of people think there isn’t a problem. You can go to any web site you want, whenever you want. It’s what he calls the “Digital Disconnect:”

    What’s been taking place—and I think it’s really crystallized in the last five years—is that on a number of different fronts, extraordinarily large, monopolistic corporations have emerged: AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, at the access level; Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, at the application and use level. And these firms have changed the nature of the Internet dramatically. And they’ve done it by becoming huge monopolies with immense power.

    McChesney makes it clear that access to the internet is now controlled by a cartel and your cost to get online is way too much:

    Robert McChesneyThe access to the Internet people get in this country is controlled by a cartel, basically, of AT&T, Verizon, with cellphones, and Comcast through cable line. And what we have in this country as a result of that is Americans pay far more for cellphones, they pay far more for broadband wired access, than any other comparable country in the world, and we get much worse service. It has nothing to do with the technology. It has nothing to do with, quote-unquote, “economics.” It has everything to do with corrupt policy making and the power of these firms. And that gives—that gives them the power to basically try to privatize the Internet as much as possible, make it their own, because they know people have no alternative. If you want a cellphone, you don’t have 14 choices; you’ve basically got one or two. And there’s—when you get that big, when you dominate a market as much as an AT&T or Verizon, you’re not really competing like 75 hot dog vendors compete. You have—see much more in common than you do in competition. And so that’s why it’s considered now a cartel.

    McChesney made these comments during an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now and you can read the full transcript here. Using crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, it is possible for small to medium sized businesses to innovate an idea and do business on the internet. But he argues that for the most part, both access and content have largely been privatized by a few big corporations. And part of the original intent behind the concept of net neutrality was the belief that control of content on the internet should be kept separate from control of the pipes and wires, the internet itself.

    To a lot of people in the media reform movement that wasn’t supposed to happen, in part because doing so would create a very large opportunity for those that controlled the pipes, the ISP’s (internet service providers) could give their own content preferential access to the so-called “fast lane,” securing faster speeds for themselves or their large corporate customers while the general public might be left with slower speeds or poor service. And if they could, they probably would.

    Last week’s FCC 3-2 vote to preserve the Open Internet and the net neutrality framework was a victory but given the political environment in the U.S. today, net neutrality opponents and lawyers for corporate media were already planning their legal challenges. Former FCC Commissioner and National Cable Television Association CEO Michael Powell writes for CNET that while he supports the concept of net neutrality,

    Consumers are likely to see higher bills from new taxes and fees and expenses related to regulatory compliance, along with a host of unintended consequences. They will wait longer to receive faster next-generation services. Internet providers, which spend massive capital to dig up streets, hang wires and connect homes, will see this intense chain of activity subjected to regulatory second-guessing that will slow the dynamic improvements we all desire.

    This is a common, empty theme repeated by conservatives; government regulation and compliance will increase the cost of services to consumers, a statement that Powell and others make without reference to existing cases, research or any kind of substantive proof of such claims. It seems doubtful that big corporate media companies would have any direct costs related to equal access and keeping the internet open.  If there needs to be an examination of competition and pricing, I might suggest instead looking into how many millions of dollars “ComVeriCast” will spend trying to overturn the FCC ruling, buying out any remaining competition, paying industry lobbyists like Powell to work at eliminating the FCC all together, and donations to the super-PACs. In the meantime consumers are likely to spend $150 a month or more for their triple-play bundles or be locked out of the broadband fast lane, to watch or read advertising or political propaganda disguised as news. Juan Gonzales, and Robert McChesney, again from Democracy Now:

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what is the fate of the content providers in this world where basically the people who control the pipes and the search engines and the aggregators are—have the main economic power? What happens to the journalists, the musicians, the artists and those who produce the actual content that people want to access over these systems?

    ROBERT McCHESNEY: Sheer unmitigated disaster. And we all know this. Newsrooms now look like plagues. And the—you know, the Internet is not solely responsible for the collapse of journalism. I think that media consolidation has led to a shrinking of newsrooms, relatively, over the last 25 years. It’s not a new thing. But what the Internet has done is it has greatly accelerated it and made it permanent. Right now we’re faced with a dark situation that there’s really no way to make—commercial interests can make money doing journalism, in any significant level. They might be able to do it for elites, business community, in the largest markets. But the notion of having a broad popular commercial journalism, as we understood for the last hundred years as sort of natural, that’s no longer in existence.

    McChesney’s advocacy group, Free Press has already started to gear up the campaign to defend the FCC vote and the expectation that there will be legislation designed to undermine the FCC’s new rules, attempts to defund the agency, endless hearings intended to prop up ISPs looking for new ways to rip off consumers. Visit Free Press now and donate if you can: Defend the Win: Donate Today to Protect Net Neutrality in Congress.

  • New: Abstract Art by Mark Gould – February 2015

    Using vector illustration applications to draw has always felt a bit like there’s math going on under my pen; sometimes following my instructions, sometimes leading me in unexpected directions. In this way my mathematic collaborator creates those happy surprises that are a constant source of joy. I also have learned when to know it’s finished!

    My work is often driven by the speed in which code can generate beautiful mathematical representations for rendering at any resolution. One iteration after another, I can pick one that has the composition I’m looking for. These new generative art tools have evolved the concept of digital artifacts and the rendering of data driven creative processes.

    Limited edition of 20 prints available for exhibit and purchase at Daylighted:

    morning-hurries-mark-gould-2015

    Morning Hurries, limited edition print, 2015

    fractal-afternoon-3s

    Fractals In The Afternoon, limited edition print, 2015

  • Ads, Disguised As News (VIDEO) John Oliver Goes After “Native Advertising”

    by Mark Gould
    SAN FRANCISCO February 14, 2015

    Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to see it, because it’s intentionally camouflaged to fit right into the flow of news on the page. It goes by different names, sponsored content, content marketing, branded content or promoted news, but these days most people in the trade are calling it “native advertising.”

    The rise of this phenomenon has largely to do with the fact that few people click on banner ads online. Almost everyone recognizes that it’s an ad, and someone wants to sell you something. So by it’s very definition native advertising involves some level of, let’s call it what it is, deception:

    It’s made to look as though it’s not just advertising but part of the news, and produced by advertisers and marketers with tools designed by news organizations to help the branded content fit in
    it’s made to look as though it’s not just advertising but part of the news, and produced by advertisers and marketers with tools designed by news organizations to help the branded content fit in, with the same look and feel as the news, to increase the chances that readers will read it. There are varying degrees of trickery, camouflaging or integration at work, of course, depending on whose news you are reading. But make no mistake about it, sponsored content has arrived in a big way. The biggest U.S. news organizations, including the New York Times and The Washington Post are doing it. So it becomes a matter of how they are doing it, how the content is labeled and how clearly the reader can tell whether what they’re looking at is news, advertising or some combination of both.

    There are a lot of discussions going on between corporate media and their advertisers about how to achieve this mimicking of content and style with “transparency,” meaning that the intent is to make sure that this content is labeled clearly enough that readers will understand what’s being presented. It’s become a matter of news ethics, and trust, a commodity dear to long established news organizations who don’t want to see precious credibility undermined. Damaris Colhoun writes for Columbia Journalism Review,

    “They’ve also attempted to sidestep the critique that sponsored content compromises a news brand by putting language like “storytelling” and “content,” rather than “advertising,” at the fore. To critics, this amounts to false labeling. In the same way “enhanced interrogation techniques” became a code word for torture, “storytelling” and “storytellers” have become code words for corporatized news.”

    Even those involved in content marketing technology have done research and understand that most readers have felt deceived by sponsored content (Contently) According to one survey 50% of respondents said they could not tell the difference between the sponsored content and the news they were reading.

    Study: Most Readers Have Felt Deceived by Sponsored Content - July 14, 2014

    If you wonder how this all got started, it’s because long established paid subscription models have almost completely gone away. News organizations have been struggling to survive because in large part, people want good, interesting, objective and trustworthy news, they just aren’t willing to pay for it. Editorial divisions of news organizations in many cases have been forced to collaborate with advertising divisions to come up with a sustainable revenue model – for years many news organizations been struggling to survive, giving their news product away online without a way to pay for it.

    It hasn’t happened overnight. Trends like this started 30 to 40 years ago when “infomercials” and “advertorials” made money in the 1970’s on late night cable television, when advertisers started buying entire programs and tried their hardest to make them look just like news.

    This being the state of affairs, John Oliver was convinced this was getting to be a serious enough problem for him to dedicate over 10 minutes to cover native advertising on Last Week Tonight:

     

    Related Stories:

    Study: Most Readers Have Felt Deceived by Sponsored Content: Contently

    Washington Post’s sponsored content launch suggests advertorials are here to stay: World News Publishing Focus

    How news organizations can sell sponsored content without lowering their standards: Poynter.org

    Disguising ads as stories – Columbia Journalism Review

    Are Desperate Publishers Selling Their Souls With Native Advertising?

     

  • Avaaz: the World’s Most Powerful NGO

    February 11, 2015

    A Culture of Imbeciles

    Patel (to the left of Al Gore) delivers a petition to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon at the People’s Climate March in New York City, Sept. 21, 2014
    ++

    In his classic orientation to American politics, Indispensable Enemies, Walter Karp described conflict between the two national political parties as largely a game of charades–choreographed by Wall Street. While party loyalists are quick to point out differences over religion and civil rights, the point Karp makes is that they both serve Wall Street, which means America is now a bi-partisan fascist oligarchy.

    Since the Reagan administration, both parties have worked overtime to privatize public wealth, and to manipulate social movements to their advantage. While it is well-known that the Wise Use Movement, Christian Coalition and the Tea Party used bigotry to advance Republican interests, little attention has been paid to social engineering by the Democrats.

    As affiliated entities, MoveOn, 1Sky, Avaaz, Ceres, Purpose and 350 enable the Democratic Party to market itself as a friend of the environment and supporter of democracy, while simultaneously serving Wall Street’s agenda. What those familiar with serious fraud might call “the long con”.

    NYSE-WCW-morning3

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    Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of Avaaz and Purpose) at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Human Potential conference. | Photo: Taylor Davidson

    Short cons include “humanitarian war” and carbon market schemes like fossil fuel divestment, that support American imperialism by consolidating Wall Street control of institutions, markets and NGOs. Using foundations as intermediaries, the fascist oligarchy on the Democrat side has a legal money laundry for promoting such fraud as the “new economy”.

    As Cory Morningstar described The Art of Social Engineering by Avaaz, “Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.”

    Meanwhile, sister organizations of Avaaz work with elites like Rockefeller, Gates and Soros in “shaping global society by utilizing and building upon strategic psychological marketing, soft power, technology and social media.” “More importantly,” notes Morningstar, “The non-profit industrial complex must be understood as a mainspring and the instrument of power, the very support and foundation of imperial domination.”

    As Morningstar continues, ‘Global society has been, and continues to be, manipulated to believe that NGOs are representative of “civil society” which has allowed the “humanitarian industrial complex” to become missionaries of empire.’ In this brave new world, NGOs like Avaaz, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch lead civil society in supporting American hegemony through military intervention.

    In Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Morningstar reports that Avaaz is the operational name of the Global Engagement and Organizing Fund, a non-profit organization incorporated in 2006. Founded by ResPublica and the Democratic Party front group MoveOn, the core purpose of Avaaz was to build US influence in the Middle East and Asia. ResPublica is led by Tom Perriello, Ricken Patel, and Tom Pravda.

    Open Society Institute – created by convicted hedge fund inside trader George Soros – is a major funder of Avaaz, MoveOn and Human Rights Watch. Avaaz destabilization campaigns in Libya, Syria and Bolivia demonstrate the value of NGOs in exercising “soft power” to overthrow foreign regimes hostile to American dominance. As a close friend of President Obama, Perriello was one of the most pro-war Democrats in Congress.

    Obama&Perriello

    In Welcome to the Brave New World, Morningstar examines Perriello’s career and relationship with war criminals like Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Both Avaaz and 350 board members supported the attack on Syria.) Avaaz, says Morningstar, is arguably “the world’s most powerful NGO.”

    Recommended Reading: AVAAZ: IMPERIALIST PIMPS OF MILITARISM, PROTECTORS OF THE OLIGARCHY, TRUSTED FACILITATORS OF WAR | PART I, SECTION I

     

  • From On The Media: NAMING THE SHOOTER, THE LAW OF THE INTERNET, AND MORE

    From WNYC, NY – On The Media

    On the narratives we expect after a terrorist event, double standards for free speech in France, and the eerie technology of Black Mirror’s not-so-distant future.

    (LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

    (LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Consumers Union Advocacy – Stop Comcast’s California domination plan. UPDATE: FCC Ruling In February

    This is worth your time in addition to the upcoming FCC ruling on open internet “net-nuetrality” rules, the CA PUC will vote on a Comcast – Time Warner merger giving Comcast the biggest share of cable media and internet markets in California. Please consider voting in favor of the Consumers’ Union petition urging California’s PUC Commissioners to deny the merger because in part, Comcast would be the biggest distribution markets in California, deciding which programs are carried and decision making authority over whether to carry diversity programming and by controlling access to the internet, deciding who is able to see what programming and where.

    Read the entire Consumers’ Union recommendations to the Public Utilities Commission and sign your name to the petition to preserve an open internet and equal access to all program and networks.

    To satisfy federal court rulings the FCC must decide in February whether to define broadband internet networks as “common carriers” under pre-existing federal rules classifying and regulating traffic across phone, radio and television broadcast spectrum. Many say this is the key area where FCC oversight is needed to preserve equal access to the media, news and information delivery systems, whether they are phone, cable or internet bandwidth networks, they all provide free and open access. Government oversight (as advocates for the public interest) must be in place as an adjunct for political forces and elected officials who up until now, have helped put in place and preserve the status of cable and internet environment of today. And as we know this system already favors mergers, acquisitions, consolidated control of the networks by a few corporate executives, and preserving control by a few giant media companies. They’re already deciding what you can watch and when you can watch it, unless you’re paying for a package of services that costs upwards of $150 a month.

    Please consider adding your name to the petition.

    The California PUC will decide the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger within weeks. PUC Commissioners and Attorney General Kamala Harris need to hear that Californians want real choices for their cable and Internet, not a faceless, giant conglomerate!

    This Consumers Union graphic shows how much of California would be controlled by Comcast-Time Warner if the merger is approved.

    Comcast-Tim Warner merger map in California - Consumers Untion

     

    Link: Consumers Union Advocacy – Stop Comcast’s California domination plan! via secure.consumersunion.org

  • Kate Nichols: 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow

    January 27, 2015

    (press release via artandeducation.net)

    http://www.katenicholsstudio.com

    San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is pleased to announce artist Kate Nichols as the recipient of the 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship. Established in 1998 by the family of renowned painter Richard Diebenkorn, who studied and taught at SFAI beginning in the 1940s, the fellowship makes it possible for a contemporary artist to both teach at SFAI and pursue independent studio work.

    Nichols will teach two courses during the fall 2015 semester, give a public lecture in the Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture series, and engage with the SFAI community through individual student critiques and other academic activities.

    Nichols comments: “I’m delighted to be counted among the accomplished painters who have received the Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship over the years. My hope is to do for SFAI students what various teachers have done for me—provide a glimpse of the exciting possibilities that come from engaging with ideas embedded in materials and processes.”

    full press release details >>

    from KQED Quest: Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols

  • The Dryansky Gallery Announces Boundaries: An Exhibition of Color Photographs by David Mitchell

    David Mitchell: Boundaries

    January 29, 2015 – March 12, 2015
    2120 Union Street (between Webster & Fillmore)
    San Francisco, CA 94123

    Opening Reception: Thursday, January 29, 6:00–8:00 pm

    David Mitchell: Boundaries  Dryansky Gallery San Francisco January 29, 2015 – March 12, 2015

    Boundaries marks David Mitchell’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, featuring non-objective photographs selected from the artist’s on-going Abstract bodies of work. Prints from his 2012 series and new works from his 2014 series are being shown for the first time. The geometric nature of these works aligns with his interest in urban form, planes and space where he employs his own abstracted and reductive aesthetic language, incorporating his fantastic sense of color, line and shape that reaches beyond the confines of reality. In Boundaries, the conventional notion of photography being about representation is replaced with contemporary non-objectivity and draws on the imagination, challenging what we have known photography to be.
    “He does not make metaphors, as conventional photographers unavoidably do. He strives for an impossible transparency… David Mitchell, a photographer unique among his contemporaries.” — Lyle Rexer, critic, curator, and columnist for Photograph Magazine

    Media Contact: Danielle Smith
    daniellesmithpr@gmail.com | 415-860-0767

  • Touch Of Grey: Lecturing to retired Deadheads: Crosscurrents Radio

    Peter Richardson, a lecturer at San Francisco State, was teaching a course on the Grateful Dead at a school for adults over 50. A cultural history class where the students were likely part of both the culture and the history? Fascinating, right? But would I leave the class a “Deadhead?” Read the full description.

    feature image from wikimedia commonsHypnotica Studios Infinite from Toms River, New Jersey, USA

  • Communication: the Invisible Environment

    (editor’s note: Jay Taber is an author, essayist, philosopher and activist among many other pursuits. Taber leads the Public Good Project, a volunteer-run research and education network of activists, analysts, journalists and editors conducting investigative research since 1994.)

    Commentary JAN 22 2015

    by Jay Taber Publicgood.org

    In his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman — American media theorist, humanist and cultural critic — noted that “new technology can never substitute for human values.”

    In American society today, our social amusements have come to occupy not only our pastimes, but everything about our lives, politics, values and beliefs. Even our most heartfelt emotions and concerns have been hijacked by the amusement industry, penetrating so deeply into our collective psyche, that we have become social robots.

    Capitalizing on this corrosion of civil society, Wall Street marketing agencies like Purpose and Avaaz — sponsors of campaigns to support “humanitarian war” and the “new economy” — have designed and exploited an advertising niche to make money from this social pathology.

    While American faith about the truth in advertising might suffer as a result of these amusements, the deaths that result take place mostly in the Third and Fourth World. As Americans are herded into waving signs and marching around Manhattan wearing the color blue, millions around the world are dying from starvation, disease and murder resulting from American consumerism.

    As a professor of Culture and Communication, Postman taught a course called Communication: the Invisible Environment. While he was concerned primarily with the decline in the ability of mass communications to share serious ideas, Postman was aware that the turning of complex ideas into superficial images — that become a form of entertainment — leads to a society where information is a commodity, bought and sold for entertainment, or to enhance one’s status. In contemporary society, mediated by technology, individuals will literally believe anything.

    originally published at: The Public Good Project

  • Media Arts Notes, January 20, 2015

    M. Lamar, NEGROGOTHIC, Warhol Foundation Gives $4 Million To Grantees, and Art From a Techno-ecological Perspective

    A quite timely exhibit opening January 30th at the San Francisco Art Institute’s Walter and McBean Galleries through February 28M 2015 that explores topics of race, equality, violence and optimism. The exhibit is curated by Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs.

    M. Lamar’s exhibition NEGROGOTHIC strips the American enterprise to its hardcore components of race, sexuality, violence, and optimism. In imagery that links the histories of slavery and Robert Mapplethorpe, and through sound that connects Lamar’s operatic counter-tenor with doom metal, the artist offers a searing and soaring portrait of the contemporary United States. This expansive multimedia exhibit contains an immersive video projection, a haunting soundtrack, large-scale prints, and sculptural props, in which Lamar unveils a stunning, epic vision of black male figures in transition.

    M-Lamar exhibit at SFAI

    M. Lamar, Discipline 2, 2014. Video still from Badass Nigga, the Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero Remix, 2013. HD video, sound, 5 minutes. San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is a place for new questions and adventurous ideas.

    From artnet news: Warhol Foundation Gives $4 Million to More Than 40 Grantees
    Brian Boucher, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Exhibitions devoted to Alberto Burri, R.H. Quaytman, Walid Raad and Arlene Shechet are among the beneficiaries of the latest round of funding from New York’s Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The $4 million in grants goes to more than 40 organizations, ranging from New York museums like the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim (organizers of the Raad and Burri shows, respectively) to scrappy nonprofits like Atlanta’s Burnaway, which publishes an art magazine that trains young writers, and Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources, in Buffalo, New York, which promotes and supports film, video and new media arts. The biggest winners, taking home $150,000 each, are San Francisco’s National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC), which “fosters and fortifies the culture and business of independent media arts,” and Washington, D.C.’s New Venture Fund, which supports public interest projects. The New Venture Fund will use the dough to support its Media Democracy Fund. Among the 11 first-time grantees, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.  full story at artnet  —>

    Warhol Foundation Gives $4 Million to More Than 40 Grantees

     

     

    As both technology and artistic vision evolves, media artists are experimenting with data, and what once might have been termed media art, digital art or art and technology is emerging to the point that not one of those terms works as a label anymore:

    from PSFK: Media Artists Use Art to Expose Real Truths Behind Big Data

    A New York Based research group is bridging the divide between technology and art- approaching new questions by means of artistic visualization. In 2015, big data will continue to play an increasingly important role in business strategy and consumer insights. 9 billion devices are predicted to be connected to the Internet by the year 2018- indicating that managers and consumers will be actively participating in data aggregation on a daily basis. To make data more accessible and engaging for managers and everyday consumers, Media artists from the Office of Creative Research are designing complex softwares and installations that represent information in a highly visual manner.

    The founding members of OCR are also artists-in-residence at MoMA

    The second in a series of publications with papers from artists, curators and academics.

    from we make money not art: Techno-Ecologies II. Acoustic Space #12

    Techno-Ecologies II. Acoustic Space #12, edited by Rasa SmiteArmin Medosch and Raitis Smits.(available on amazon USA or by ordering directly from RIXC via e-mail: rixc @ rixc.lv.)

    …directions in contemporary discourses are part of a larger paradigm shift from new media to post-media art. A range of practices which were once subsumed under terms such as media art, digital art, art and technology or art and science, have experienced such growth and diversification that no single term can work as as a label any more. Traditionally separated domains are brought together to become contextual seedbeds for ideas and practices that aim to overcome the crisis of the present and to invent new avenues for future developments. The publication is as deep and as wide-ranging as the Riga show was. Its content also echoes many of the current conversations that makes media art such an exciting field to follow: DIY culture vs ‘black box’ technology, digital archiving, continued influence of early locative art, funding models for the digital culture, reconciliation between sciences and humanities, etc.

    Techno-Ecologies 2

    This is the 2nd volume in the Acoustic Space series that continues to build a ‘techno-ecological’ perspective whereby new artistic practices are discussed that combine ecological, social, scientific and artistic inquiries.

    read the full review at we make money not art ->

     

     

     

  • THE ILLOGIC OF THE CLIMATEERS

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    A Culture of Imbeciles  EDITORIAL

    January 16, 2015

    Cults — religious or secular — involve dissemination of core beliefs by their agents. Whether priests or public relations provocateurs, these agents are the vectors by which recruiting and indoctrination are accomplished. In order to maintain the cult, ideological doctrine — when founded on nonsense — become mantras that prevent critical thought.

    The illogic of the climateers cult — of which Naomi Klein is the primary prophet — finds fertile ground in the political illiteracy of privileged first world progressives–fallen prey to institutional propaganda and market advertising. The hoax is made possible by a combination of hopelessness, magical thinking, and media consolidation.

    In a world where warmongers are given the Nobel Peace Prize, and revolutions are won by throngs in blue taking selfies while eating pizza provided by Wall Street, anything is possible. Anything, that is, except social change.

    Above: “Honourable’” Hilary M. Weston presents the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction to Naomi Klein, board member of 350.org.  Photo: The Writers’ Trust of Canada, October 15, 2014 [Source

    In a culture of imbeciles, secular cults flourish according to the amount of Wall Street derivatives flowing through foundations into the non-profit industrial complex. After that, it’s a simple matter of echoing mantras on YouTube and TV talk shows.

    The art of social engineering, while dependent on high finance, also requires a politically illiterate audience. In a society like the United States, the charms of Naomi are amplified by progressive ignorance, and sustained by imperial civil society.

    Simulating an Orwellian ministry of truth, the magic of Naomi — funded by Wall Street — becomes revolutionary in ways envisioned in the novel 1984. As a maverick in her own mind, Klein has become the progressives’ Sarah Palin.

    Progressive self-delusion, from hope and change to this changes everything, is grounded in hysteria. The climateers Kool-Aid keeps reality at bay.

  • POSTER: SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR ANNOUNCES HOUSING PLAN

    by Mark Gould  JAN 15 2015

    I don’t knock these illustrations out in a day anymore; it’s taken me a few months to get this one in shape. But it’s a work in progress and still not finished. I wanted to put something online though, since today San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee formally announced the specifics of his new housing program, focused on creating affordable housing into the future for low income and middle class city residents. The concept for the poster speaks for itself. It seemed like a clever idea I hadn’t seen and I’m pretty happy with where it’s going so far.

    Some of the illustrations I do are very detailed and take me a lot of time – the work is very rewarding but it can also be tedious. Finishing up I’ll be drawing several more buildings, add some San Francisco iconic architecture and create some title text for it but all of that will take some more work. As of today the illustration has not been bought or commissioned and is available in several print or digital formats and a choice of licensing options. Contact me  for additional information.

     

    San Francisco - City Housing Plan 2015

    San Francisco – City Housing Plan 2015