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Wed Dec 13 2017 (Updated 01/02/18)
National Day of Action in Defense of Net Neutrality
UPDATE: In sweeping act of deregulation, the FCC has voted to repeal Net Neutrality
Protests to save net neutrality burst upon the San Francisco Bay Area scene on December 7. The proposal at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to roll back Obama era rules would fundamentally change the internet by favoring carriers over internet content providers. In Palo Alto, a "March on Verizon" started in Lytton Plaza, where "Digital DNA", a sculpture inviting the viewer to question how technology can enslave us, is slated for removal because of its political message. Demonstrations on the national day of action targeted Verizon because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verizon lawyer.
On November 16, the Public Art Commission of Palo Alto voted unanimously to remove the artwork of Adriana Varella from the city’s public art collection. "Digital DNA", a seven foot tall egg shaped sculpture made of recycled circuit boards, imparts a political message—that technology generated by Silicon Valley has a far-reaching impact. It conveys that modern technology can enslave us, and reminds the viewer that technology is also used for warfare. In protest of the commission's decision, the artist has created a more than 5 foot wide collage titled "Censorship Committee of Palo Alto" that is currently on display at an art show about censorship in New York City.
Sun Nov 19 2017 (Updated 11/28/17)
Police Action in East Palo Alto Displaces RV Dwellers
Seventy-five protesters blocked a street in East Palo Alto to protect families at a police action at 8 a.m. on November 15. A tow truck pulled up to haul away a dozen RV's occupied mostly by working people, some with children. The RV residents received less than 24 hours notice of an emergency eviction ordinance put in place by the city. That same evening many of the protesters and about 200 residents showed up to a Public Works and Transportation Commission meeting to face off with city staff and commissioners. On the agenda: a potential long term or permanent ordinance on RV parking on Weeks Street and a ban on all oversized vehicles on city streets.
Oakland will spend $75,000 on a study to examine the feasibility of establishing a public bank in the city. The impact on the cannabis industry would be huge, because most corporate banks do not conduct business with the cannabis trade even where their operations are legal. Without bank credit card services, business transactions must be conducted in cash. Even filing taxes with the IRS is problematic. Nearly all large corporate banks are involved in unethical practices of one kind or another. A public bank would also allow people of conscience to bank without supporting unconscionable investments.
Late in the evening on October 8, the Diablo Winds blew into Santa Rosa, resulting in five fires. The rapidly spreading fires caused dozens of deaths and burned thousands of homes and other structures to the ground. Beyond those directly effected, the Santa Rosa firestorm, and other fires in the North Bay have polluted the air across the entire region. The elderly and children are at greatest health risk from the smoke of the wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Yuba and Mendocino Counties. On October 16 a new wildfire started in unincorporated Santa Cruz County, spurring evacuations. Concerns remain about the origin of the fires; one theory being that high winds caused power lines to collapse, raising questions about PG&E's culpability.
Thu Aug 24 2017 (Updated 09/02/17)
DOJ Demands User Data from Anti-Trump Website
Federal prosecutors say DisruptJ20.org was used to plan a violent anti-Trump riot on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C. Initially, the Department of Justice (DoJ) demanded that the site’s web host, DreamHost, turn over extensive data including 1.3 million IP addresses. After DreamHost and activist organizations complained that the warrant was an abuse of government authority, the DoJ narrowed the scope of the warrant on August 21, dropping IP addresses but still seeking information on private groups that organized via the website. On August 24, the court ruled that DreamHost still needs to disclose some information about the operators of disruptj20.org.
Right-wing protest organizer Jack Posobiec cited “credible alt-left terrorist threats” as the reason for postponing an extreme right march at Google headquarters in Mountain View scheduled for August 19. Cause célèbre for the extreme right, former Google software engineer James Damore inspired the protest when he was fired for penning an internal memo in which he argued that the low number of women in technical positions was a result of biological differences. Despite the postponement of the alt-right demo, demonstrators carried on with a counter protest on August 19.
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