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It is remarkable how difficult President Obama makes defending his agenda. The recent tax cut package contained that payroll tax holiday which might have some short-term stimulus effect, but it’s long-term effects are likely to be less than a bargain in regards to keeping Congress’s dirty little hands off those funds. It is one of those things I hope I’m wrong about. The last few days were good ones for Democrats. They continue to be the best legislators one can expect wedged between the party’s corporatist tendencies and the pure maliciousness of conservative Republicans. Apparently the powers that be thought a few days of basking in the glow of relative progress was going to spoil us, so here they go – Obama FCC Caves on Net Neutrality

According to all reports, the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow’s FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet.

The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it’s become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users.

Welcome to AT&T’s Internet

For the first time in history of telecommunications law the FCC has given its stamp of approval to online discrimination.

Instead of a rule to protect Internet users’ freedom to choose, the Commission has opened the door for broadband payola – letting phone and cable companies charge steep tolls to favor the content and services of a select group of corporate partners, relegating everyone else to the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.

Instead of protecting openness on wireless Internet devices like the iPhone and Droid, the Commission has exempted the mobile Internet from Net Neutrality protections. This move enshrines Verizon and AT&T as gatekeepers to the expanding world of mobile Internet access, allowing them to favor their own applications while blocking, degrading or de-prioritizing others.

If the people of the good ol USA should have learned anything in the last thirty years it is to never give the corporate plutocracy any more power. They are not your benevolent Uncle or Aunt. They will take that power, enshrine it as a right and abuse it. Critics are nothing but dang liberals and anarchists. She comes at the net neutrality from a different angle than liberals, but even this Republican commissioner at the FCC gets the basics of what is at stake – Hands off tomorrow’s Internet By Meredith Attwell Baker

Discouragingly, the FCC is intervening to regulate the Internet because it wants to, not because it needs to. Preserving the openness and freedom of the Internet is non-negotiable; it is a bedrock principle shared by all in the Internet economy. No government action is necessary to preserve it. Acting only on speculative concerns about network operators and contrary to a decade of industry practice, the FCC is moving forward aggressively without real evidence of systemic competitive harms to cure, markets to fix or consumers to help.

Obama’s FCC decision on net neutrality is the payroll tax holiday all over again. They do not have to regulate the net and the long-term consequences have no upside for consumers, small business or democracy. Wireless is taking its first steps toward becoming the ubiquitous highway of net access. let’s let the corporate dark princes have their finger on every portal and every app. I don’t have that kind of faith in anyone’s good judgment. Such economic power to corporations is worse than the allure of meth to addicts. They’re addicted abusers. The later have the potential for reform and redemption, corporations not. I’m too schooled in the ways of politics and the political ego to believe politicians will or even can keep all their promises. Obama’s broken promises keep adding up. Many of them he did not have to break. Net neutrality is one of them.

Some good news even if the new net rules take some of the wind out of this very potential victory – New START headed toward ratification as GOP support grows

“I believe we have the votes to ratify this treaty,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), after emerging from a two and a half hour closed session, during which senators discussed both unclassified and classified issues related to New START.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are senators who can probably measure their degree of relevance slip away by the day. Their contributions to American government to be found with a team of tracking dogs and a microscope. In their desperation they are offering up amendments to the “Resolution of Ratification”. Basically they have found what they believe might be a ghastly uncrossed T. If they can get their juvenile bids for T crossing passed they’ll have partial fingerprints on a Obama – Clinton accomplishment. The crowning glory of their failed careers. They still have two years to go maybe they can lie and manipulate the country into another three trillion-dollar war.

I was going to give the latest verbal farts from Haley Barbour (R-MS) a pass. Barbour has always been and will likely die an unrepentant racist. No news there. Then I read No More Mr Nice Blog’s post and the excerpt from the Barbour apologists at the National Review,

And so we get this from National Review’s Jim Geraghty, eagerly linked by Fox Nation:

The Weekly Standard profiles him this week, and liberal bloggers are spotlighting one section where Barbour discusses segregation and racism in Mississippi in his childhood days. You can sense where this is going, right?

…Over at Ace of Spades, Drew M. details how liberal bloggers are pointing out that the Citizens Councils weren’t as benign as Barbour remembers; the story angle and accusation is gradually migrating from the most highly-strung of liberal blogs to the most likely MSM outlets. “It’s as if JournoList is back in action,” he tweets.

Any white Republican who grew up in the South is going to be accused of racism. In fact, there’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest that any Republican running against Barack Obama will be accused of racism, period. Hell, any Republican, running for office, anywhere, at any time, will be accused of racism eventually.

… His sin is that, decades later, he remembers his hometown through rose-colored glasses? Don’t most people do that?

Working against Barbour is that he is a distinctly Southern in his drawl and mannerisms, and Southern politicians have a higher bar to clear when it comes to accusations of racism. Because of the experience of slavery and segregation, the South is associated with racism in the minds of a significant chunk of the electorate. The perception may be outdated, false, unfair, and hypocritical, but it is out there.

I was born in the south, live in the south and according to associates in the western and north-eastern part of the country – I have a light southern accent and southern way about me – whatever that means. I am never mistaken for a racist and I vote for southerners. I do not vote for racists because – even though all us southerners sound and act alike according to NR  – racists are usually easy to differentiate from non-racists. Members of racist organizations – such as Barbour – tend to be the garish pink neon lights of racism. I know conservative southerners who are not racist. I still wouldn’t vote for them because they either have contempt for good governance or think governing is a joke and stepping stone to power and money. What is deeply pathetic here is NR pulled the passage about southern mannerisms and accent from the depths of the right-wing blogger slime pool Ace of Spades. This is his best analysis, his deepest most profound thoughts and insights into Barbour’s life long affair with racism. This article about the history of The National Review is mistaken in one aspect. Racism is not what the NR was, but what it still is in its readiness to play apologists for the likes of Barbour – The Decline of National Review

A famous example of the early NR stance on race was an unsigned editorial of August 24, 1957, titled “Why the South Must Prevail.” It was almost certainly written by Mr. Buckley, since he uses similar language in his book Up From Liberalism. The editorial argued against giving blacks the vote because it would undermine civilization in the South:

“The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

“National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct… It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.”

“The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class… Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.”

The final passage about “genuine cultural equality between the races” can be read either as a last-minute loss of will or as a description of a criterion for the black franchise that could never be met. In any case, the editorial recognizes a principle NR would never articulate today: the right of a civilized minority — racial or otherwise — to impose its will upon an uncivilized majority. NR Contributing Editor L. Brent Bozell dissented from the editorial on constitutional grounds but still admitted, “It is understandable that White Southerners should try to have it both ways — they can’t know what would happen should Negroes begin to vote, and they naturally want to cover their bet.”

NR has not changed all that much. No you probably will not see an article which advocates the inherit inferiority of African-Americans. They take a more convoluted route. When a conservative is caught being a racist, the wrong is not the racism but making note if it. All those liberals in their blogs and Tweets are being hurtful to a white racists, which is the new racism. This tactic is as old as the Southern strategy. One of the many problems with the poor white guy argument is that most southern whites do not want to be associated with such embarrassing rationalizations.

An article by James Kilpatrick in the September 24, 1963, issue argued that the Civil Rights Bill (eventually passed in 1964) should be voted down. He wrote, “I believe this bill is a very bad bill. In my view, the means here proposed are the wrong means… In the name of achieving certain ‘rights’ for one group of citizens this bill would impose some fateful compulsions on another group of citizens.” After it passed, an editorial declared: “The Civil Rights Act has been law for only a little over two months, yet it already promises to be the source of much legalistic confusion, civic chaos and bureaucratic malpractice.”

Mr. Kilpatrick also took aim at the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the April 20, 1965 issue. “Must We Repeal the Constitution to Give the Negro the Vote?” he asked, accusing the bill’s supporters of “perverting the Constitution.” He thought certain blacks should be given the right to vote but notes, “Over most of this century, the great bulk of Southern Negroes have been genuinely unqualified for the franchise.” He also defended segregation as rational for Southerners. “Segregation is a fact, and more than a fact; it is a state of mind. It lies in the Southern subconscious next to man’s most elementary instincts, for self-preservation, for survival, for the untroubled continuation of a not intolerable way of life.”

NR was on the wrong side – the deeply immoral side of history in 1957 and 1963. NR continues that dubious tradition today. All wrapped up in similarly banal defenses.