Sacramento Z, vol 1 no 1
Zoe Keating

Feb 9,2015 (NPR News interview)

Zoe Keating

Google/Utube Screwing Musicians as the 1% marches on, wiping their feet on user rights for a buck.
Zoe Keating fights back — but should she even need to?

Corporate Crime Dept:

Last edition we wrote about the Facebook/Google civil rights issues as corporate America continues to write its own laws about what it can (virtually anything) and cannot (virtually nothing) do to online users of social networks and other public commons spaces on the net. Our Campaign has hardly begun (see/sign petition at - Civil Rights) when up pops another angle on how to screw net citizens

insist they sign up for some distribution service which doesn't pay them a dime for their work, and if they refuse, then threaten to cut them off essential self-distributing networks like Utube. How can a company do this? Well, if you're Google and you happen to own both spaces....well, you get the picture.

That's the treatment, Zoe Keating got in a surprise ambush-phonecall from her reps at Google and what they required her to do to keep using a Utube service she has enjoyed. It's complicated, and includes aspects of the music business and ads and such that are difficult to follow if one is not on the inside of those matters. but basically it appears she is being forced to either give up control of her activities, or lose the ability to even conduct them should she refuse their terms. her to give up control of what she does if she wishes to use the public

Clearly, it is just one more example of why we have to take a stand against corporate control of public spaces on the net. It doesn't matter if they own them or not.

People own restaurants, social clubs, golf-courses, bus lines, too. But they don't get to write their own laws about privacy, exclusion and other reasonable activities that take place in their privately owned spaces. Then can't tell you, you can't ride on some bus operated by a company they own, because you refuse to buy your peanuts in their company store. We fought some long, bloody civil-rights battles to make that clear.

It should be no different for the public commons of the net. More so, since those are essential spaces which everyone is required to use if they wish to conduct the ordinary business of life and participate in their democracy. Try getting a job without having that access and see what "equal opportunity" really means".

This really isn't just about Zoe Keating not being able to conduct her business, or Red Slider and The Z being locked out of facebook, and so on. It's about all of us, and all the virtual public commons we use on the net. It's about taking a stand now. If we don't, it's just going to get worse. Much worse.

Some links for further reading:


Feb 14, 2015 (Sac Z)


Why? Because we are waiting for materials from you— stories, art, poems, letters other papers refused to publish, z-axis/omoiyari insights that will make us sit up, wake up and exercise our imagination.

In a week or two, we will have some guidlines for you to consider when sending materials. You will be able to view them by clicking "Guides/Guidelines" in the navigation bar. But feel free to send anything you think might interest us. We'll be glad to look it over, and if it catches our interest you may see it filling this space, or appearing in an upcoming edition of The Z.

thanks, your editor.


Johnson Gaff?

Thought-Crime Dept:

[This story happened back in November (see KCRA News Clip for example)— a tempest in a teapot, except that it Z's close to another story ('Trespass') we're covering in this edition."

Speaking of which, isn't it time to give up the 'he-she/she-he, hishe/shehis shish&hish' crap we use to politically mangle our writing... Unless its really germane to say what the subject has between their legs, the third-person plural does fine for a genderless render. come'on folks. - z-ed ]

This issue we have a few stories that confront our 'language gotcha's' and the theater of misconstruction. So this article seemed worth retaining for that reason. Was this really some kind of racial snipe by the Mayor? The Police union?... or just more of the same word-play-for-power returns we see so much these days.

It does get serious when people authorize themselves to fool around with the language and work up a head of steam over anyone who dares slit-their-tongue on some vagrant dark thought. Do we really want to live in that reality? Because it will come back to haunt all of us in due time. Count on it.

Speaking of

Johnson draws fire for a language crime over his Ferguson remarks while the real gaff is designed to escape our notice and go scot free.

The recent war-of-words between mayor Johnson and Sacramento police officers over the lessons of Ferguson are just a little side-show which our local press is all to happy to repeat and milk for theatrical interest. The real reasons we need to pay close attention to those far away events have nothing to do with the mayor's "disappointment" or the police union's "embarrassment".

Of far greater importance is how the mayor and the police managed their performance and scripted its conclusion to a two-part photo-op of mutual agreement that 1) "Sacramento is not Ferguson"; and 2) our cops are not like theirs. "If I gave offense... I didn't intend that," the mayor said insulating his remarks from having any relationship to Sacramento.

After narrowing the scope of his remarks to ones about how the families of Ferguson feel and the president of the Police Officers Association tempering matters to a simple scolding for the mayor's "broad strokes...[that] brings it right back home to Sacramento," the two of them exit stage left and right with an agreement to "examine how they communicate with one another".

And now everybody can go home thinking the matter has been taken of. It hasn't. Nor will it be, even with promises of honing their communication skills or of attending to additional sensitivity training, racial diversity and "community outreach", which the parties assure us are being seriously engaged.

What this little media assisted circus did manage to do was carefully conceal the real and systemic failings of our legal system and it's institutions, whether they be our courts, our grand juries or our various law enforcement agencies. Failings which will continue to meet such events as Ferguson with ever more legalized aggression and provocation. An unchecked mission creep of our entire legal system which is not changed at all by simply adding more racial, gender, LBGT or other "minority" enclaves to our law enforcement agencies. That may be a good thing to do, but it isn't the thing we really need to do.

Ferguson presents us a rare opportunity to look beyond the instant and ask ourselves how matters really got to this stage. But it is a moment that will quickly pass unless we notice how our attention is being narrowly diverted from a more universal and systemic problem, one that reaches even further than race or police brutality.

What we've been handed is the chance to notice what has happened to the instrument that was designed to protect us from such excessive abuses of power and how that mission has been co-opted and why, in it's now weakened and corrupted state, it fails to prevent such things as Ferguson from ever happening.

Four-thousand pages of testimony over one specific case can lead to little understanding of what really happened that day in Ferguson. Other than opinion wars about cops vs. us, our focus on a single event and using it as a metaphor for what ought concern us all about justice in America, permits one of the most important actors in the proliferation of injustice to sneak away—the grand jury system itself.

While we may notice, react, even boil over at times, about some "bad decision" of some particular grand jury, our failure to notice the central role of grand juries in protecting everyone from many kinds of state abuses of power in addition to our common understanding of its role in providing due process in criminal indictments, hardly gets any attention at all. Indeed, so weakend and co-opted has the grand jury system become thoughout the nation, that it should come as no surprise that Fergusons happen all the time, whether we notice them or not, or that cities like Sacramento are no more immune from the devolution of justice through the corruption and state control of our grand juries than any other place in America.

While Ferguson, Sacramento, and every other jurisdiction might like to keep their grand juries out of that spotlight, the Z believes these events are a perfect time to do exactly the opposite - to shine a brighter light on something we have left all to long to its own devices, often the devices of those who have re-designed and control our grand juries to advance their own ambitions.

Occupying our grand juries, however, is quite a different matter. For it is the power of a reckless state that has siezed our grand jury system and turned it into little more than an agency to facilitate or excuse the exercise of that power. In the words of David Friege, writing for Slate Magazine ( "The Independent Grand Jury That Wasn't" ):

"So despite what McCulloch [the prosecutor] might want, the rage that is spilling over in Ferguson shouldn't be focused on the grand jury, but rather on the corrupting role of a governmental power that has so neutered the traditional function of grand juries that even when they are supposedly open they cannot truly escape the long shadow of prosecutorial influence."

Unfortunately, there is no way to address that issue but to focus directly on the grand jury system and contest the government's right to occupy what was originally and wholly intended to be a people's institution—an institution meant to prevent the state from excesses such as those we see unfolding in Ferguson with the grand jury's passive assistance. It is time we brought our grand juries out of the shadows where they have been kept hidden far too long.

related story: 'Grand Juries'

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