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US Court of Appeals: The Internet is a Plantation, With Comcast, Verizon, AT&T Its Masters

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Thanks to a ruling by the US Circuit Court of Appeals in DC, telecom companies are free to dictate every aspect of what you can and cannot see, hear or do over the internet. It's an emergency. It's time to demand immediate presidential intervention to head off the end of the internet as we know it.

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FCC To Finally Rule On Cost of Prison Phone Calls This Friday

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

A few years ago, one of my children was a federal prisoner in California, on the other side of the continent. I had a decent job, and could afford to fly out 2 or 3 times a year to visit, and we wrote. But there was no substitute for the Sunday night phone call. That weekly 15 minute call used to cost our family $90 every month. We couldn't afford it, but we paid anyway. Many families worse off than ours cannot pay at all.

Mic Check!! Occupy Atlanta Demands FCC Stop Privatizations, Grant New Channels to Nonprofit Community Broadcasters

At a December 1 public meeting held by the FCC in Atlanta, ostensibly to determine the area's communications needs, Occupy Atlanta, the GA Green Party, WRFG-FM radio, People TV and other organizations came together to demand the FCC stop the privatizations of new channels, distribute new broadcast licenses, and guarantee funding of community media by making broadcasters and cable operators pay for the scarce public resources they use....

It's Time To Occupy The FCC!

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

What do we call a government agency created to manage telephony, internet, wireless, cable, and broadcasting in the public interest, but has been the captive of greedy corporations for decades? We call it the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. What can we do when corrupt authorities like the FCC utterly forfeit their legitimacy, and just aren't listening? We can raise our voices. IWe can withdraw our consent. We can occupy their public space, which is really ours anyway.

Time to Grab the Mic: Low Power FM Radio Licensing Window Looms

Without control over some form of mass media, without the ability to speak with and to hear its own voice, no community can long exist.  Commercial media in the hands of for-profit broadcasters can only build markets, not communities.  This year, the FCC will accept license applications for hundreds or thousands of new local low-power FM radio stations in cities and towns across the U.S.  It's an unparalelled chance, and the last chance for local organizers for peace and justice to grab the mics.

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There Goes the Internet

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

With the “compromise” on Internet neutrality, President Obama has betrayed another campaign promise, and this time has no excuse that the Republicans made him do it. The outcome was really never in doubt, since Obama named as his FCC chairman a man who helped make radio and television into a corporate wasteland, under Bill Clinton’s administration.

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President Obama's FCC Sells Out on Network Neutrality – Another Constituency Thrown Under The Bus

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon
After campaigning as a champion of network neutrality, President Obama has decisively broken yet another promise. The FCC votes December 21 on rules proposed by the president's FCC chairman which will begin the transformation of the free and open internet into somethning much more like cable TV, with corporate control over content, and hundreds or thousands of “channels”, but not much worth watching.

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Why President Obama Won't Deliver On His Network Neutrality Promises

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

After two years of President Barack Obama, where are we on network neutrality, and the rights of minority communities to fight the digital redlining of our communities which lies at the core of the telecom business model? If the president didn't deliver when he had a majority in Congress, what can we expect from his White House and FCC in the next two years?

Save the Internet, But Start a Social Movement

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Dr Jared A. Ball

A federal court has put the FCC’s version of “internet neutrality” in question, encouraging corporate forces that would turn the Net into a toll road. But real activists don’t rely on courts and legislatures to achieve social and institutional progress. “Until we return to genuine grassroots and radically political social movement no technology can be used for liberation."

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FCC Commissioner to Public in Atlanta: "Shut Up And Watch TV!"

FCC_Logo_Symbol333by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

In Atlanta, the FCC's sham “Digital TV Consumer Education” town hall meeting was a near-secret affair, held in a conference room in rather than the advertised auditorium.  FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate refused to answer questions about how the FCC gave broadcasters 5100 additional digital TV stations without the public bother or notice of issuing a single license. “Shut up, get yourself a converter box, and watch TV” was the FCC's message, and let us and the broadcasters worry about who gets the frequencies and why.

FCC Spreads Digital Disinformation on TV Transition

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

Thanks to corporate media's longstanding refusal to report on itself, along with a multimillion dollarFCC_Logo_Symbol333 campaign of public disinformation paid for by the FCC on behalf of commercial broadcasters, high-def TV and converter boxes are all most of know about the switch to digital TV. Last Monday, September 8, Wilmington NC became the first community in the nation to cease analog TV broadcasting and switch entirely to digital. Existing broadcasters gathered to rejoice at the prospect of hundrds of new digital channels which they receive free of charge, with no noticeable public interest obligations, and for which they don't even have programming.

FCC Announces 80 City “We're Not Listening” Digital TV Tour

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

Digital TV means four to ten times as many channels for each and every broadcaster with no obligations to the public. The FCC quietly awarded broadcasters this colossal gift of public property worth $70-$80 billion during the Clinton administration back in 1996. In the 12 years since, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, corporate broadcasters and their stooges at the FCC have diligently peddled the cover stories that digital TV is all about the advent of high definition television, and that the only nagging questions are how and whether enough converter boxes will be available for consumers who can't or won't buy brand new TVs.

In a final act of brazen misdirection to conceal this grand theft digital, FCC Commissioners are scheduled to tour dozens of cities between now and February 18, 2009, doing a lot of talking, but not much listening.

The FCC and the Emperors of TV Have No Clothes

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
Big Media and their sock puppets at the FCC have engineered a massive theft of public resources -- the giveaway of more than ten thousand newly minted digital TV channels to themselves.  They have finagled the regulatory process to exclude community groups, unions, local entrepreneurs, women, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, colleges, universities or local government entities from even being able to ask about getting channels for themselves, and imposed a news blackout on their evil deed.  Their theft is settled law now, to be consummated in February 2009.
Their only fear is that the nationwide movement for media justice will awaken in time to inform and arouse the American people as it did 2003.  A parade of pot-bellied naked corporate thieves are hoping nobody notices the crime scene or their progress to and from it, until it's too late.

The Hidden History of US Broadcasting

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixonmontage090

The US broadcast media regime, in which greedy, amoral corporations enjoy completely free monopoly licenses to run their highly profitable businesses upon the scarce public property that is the broadcast spectrum is usually presented to us as the only “natural” and sensible media order. It is, we've all been told, the benign and logical outcome of democratic give and take and rigorous competition in a free marketplace. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Black Stake, and All Our Stakes, in the Media Justice Movement, Part 1 of 2

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

Mass media determine public consciousness. But in the US, where mass media are owned and operated almost entirely by and in the interest of a greedy and irresponsible corporate elite, who keep the issues of control and governance of the internet, cable, broadcast and other media off the table. Potential growth of the media justice movement into an arm of a broad and popular social movement is a clear and imminent threat to the nation's bipartisan elite. And it's the only hope for many millions of Americans currently unable to speak with or hear their own voices, or to realize their own power.

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