The past, embedded in the present

This article, by Jeb Lund in Rolling Stone, really should be read in full. It is a clear description of the ways in which Confederate ideology and the violence of white supremacy, have sculpted our political landscape, and continue to infect the conservative movement to this day.

The Charleston Shooter: Racist, Violent, and Yes – Political

How could it not be political, when the Republican Party has weaponized its supporters and made violence a virtue?

…And nothing — nothing — emphasizes that overreach and theft like black people. Mendacious twit and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley issued a statement saying, “We do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” but to riddle it out all she needed to do was go outside and look up at the traitorous rag borne by Confederate armies and raiding parties and rapists and murderers that flaps outside the capitol as if to say, “Enact change at your own risk.”

For the neoconfederate ghouls driving movement conservatism, that rag represents the first leftist-directed black theft. A quite literal one: They are taking the black people that are our property. It’s there to repudiate Reconstruction — government redistribution of property for former slaves and reshaping of government to create a proportional voice for blacks. It was dragged back out to respond to the Civil Rights movement: the theft of whites’ ability to codify privilege and plunder into the law, “robbing” them of a permanent subservient underclass created through systemic disenfranchisement and deprivation. That last reaction is the permanent subtext of one half of the American political dialogue, the long low dog whistle that entered the mainstream of American conservatism with Nixon and the Southern Strategy in 1968 — a toxic mixture of anti-government resentment, absolute refusal to recognize the left as legitimate, and racial loathing….

I am happy to see the Confederate flag removed from its place on official buildings and other items belonging to various state governments. I’ll be much happier if this attempt to restore the Voting Rights Act actually succeeds.

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Take down the flag

I also have lived in the South, have much family that lives there still, and have traced my father’s family back to Civil War veterans.

And yet I am a Yankee, I admit. So it will come as no surprise that I don’t care what some random backwoods dude in Mississippi thinks about his heritage.

The Confederate battle flag is the very symbol of slavery and treason and not for one day should it ever have been allowed onto any government place or entity. The South lost and it’s good that it did. That reality should be reflected by governments across the country.

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Victory for the activists

The FCC just approved the strongest net neutrality rules yet

1. The Federal Communications Commission has approved its strongest network neutrality rules yet.

2. Three Democrats, including chairman Tom Wheeler, voted for the rules. The two Republicans dissented.

3. The new rules reclassify internet access so it will be regulated like a public utility.

How liberals can get results out of the Obama administration

…net neutrality was of intense interest to a small portion of the population, but largely ignored by the rest. In those conditions, the people with power and money usually win. And this may be the most important lesson of this fight for activists: if you want to beat a well-funded opponent, get some wealthy allies of your own….

…the real opponents were the cable and ISP companies. They don’t want to be regulated like utilities; they’d rather have the freedom to charge whatever they want to whomever they want. They may not yet be saying to Home Depot, “Give us this many millions of dollars and your web site will load fast on our customers’ computers, while Bob’s Hardware’s website won’t,” but they wanted to reserve the right to do that some time in the future. These companies have billions of dollars to spend and huge lobbying clout.

But the activists were able to partner with an equally well-heeled group: Internet companies like Google and Netflix, the ones who feared getting shaken down by the ISPs. While we can’t rewind history and see if this battle could have been won without them, there’s no question that when Silicon Valley came calling, the administration listened, not only because it’s a vital industry but also because of all the millions of dollars tech companies and their employees give to Democrats….

So there’s your sad-but-true takeaway. If you’re up against deep pockets in a political fight, it helps to have some on your own side too.

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