If we’re going to live in a banana republic, I insist on more readily available coconuts.

“Citizens United Attacks From Justice Stevens Continue” – Mike Sacks (Huffington Post)

Personally, I’d much rather prefer that Justice Stevens publish his minority opinion on the Citizens United case. Half the Roberts Court is rotten to the core; a little sunlight in dark places is a great disinfectant.

“Oklahoma rape victim turned away from hospital” – Jessica Pieklo (Care2)

Welcome to the future of women’s contraceptive services in the Land of the GOP.

“Fox’s Anti-Obama attack ad is nearly $100,000 in free advertising for GOP” – Oliver Willis (MediaMatters)

As one of the commenters in the article pointed out, this is actually worth more than that, as Fox created the ad themselves.

It’s long past time for Fox “News” to be stripped of all the rights and privileges granted to members of the press, because it’s not a news organization. It’s propaganda, and not even subtle propaganda at this point either. The extent of Fox’s “news” coverage is the hour they give to Shepard Smith, whose continued employment I can only chalk up to pictures of Roger Ailes in a dress with a young boy locked in a safe deposit box somewhere.

Later in this article I say that I believe political speech is the bedrock of the First Amendment. I have no problem with Fox saying what they do; it’s a free country, after all. My issue is with how they’re allowed to portray it. I can’t put lipstick on a pig and enter it in Miss America. It’s still a pig, it’s just wearing a dress. Fox is a propaganda machine; calling it “news” is just an attempt to make it respectable, because “Roger Ailes’ Looney Tunes Conservative Opinion Network” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

“SEC: Taking on Big Firms is ‘Tempting,’ But We Prefer Picking on Little Guys” – Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)

What I do for a living is not terrifically different from what the SEC does. So, I totally get why the SEC does what it does. They are massively outgunned from a regulatory perspective; their opponents have armies of lawyers, unlimited political clout, and the ability to make even the most egregious and heinous charges slide off like they’re made of Teflon.

At the same time, you don’t not pick the obvious fight because you’re gonna lose. I’ve investigated individuals whose titles start with “Chief”, and for as much noise as they make, for as difficult as they’ve made my life on occasion, the fact remains that they did something wrong, and must be held to account.

Here we are, four years after the crash of 2008, and not one of the big bank executives is in prison. Dick Fuld, Lloyd Blankfein, and the rest of Wall Street’s robber baron crime family remain free men, despite literally stealing billions of dollars from the American public.

The arc of history is long, but eventually it bends toward justice.

“BREAKING: Two Republican judges declare DOMA unconstitutional” (ThinkProgress)

Here’s the rub: so long as Roberts & Co. control the Supreme Court, DOMA will remain law. It will take the Supreme Court to overturn it, and the bloc of five right wing idealogues will do everything in their power to keep it law. Yes, it’s another great victory, but the courts are only confirming what anyone with two brain cells and a passing knowledge of the Constitution can tell you: you can’t enshrine discrimination of a particular group into law and have it stand indefinitely.

“EXCLUSIVE: Palm Beach Elections supervisor rejects Florida’s Voter Purge list, says effort is ‘Not Credible'” – Josh Israel (ThinkProgress)

I’d like to second Charles P. Pierce’s opinion on this matter: Eric Holder, please investigate the hell out of Rick Scott. He’s calling you and the Obama Administration out. What does he have to do; wander outside the White House at night, clinking empty glass bottles together?

“A call to awaken the Bishops’ Conscience” – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire)

If the Bishops are dead set on turning the Catholic Church into a major player in American politics, then I think it’s time the American government, which cannot directly support a partisan political organization, start taxing them like any other political organization. I think it’s time they be subject to the same rules and regulations as any other business. No more “religious” exemptions for entire organizations, just for individuals.

“The Too-Public Trial of John Edwards, Private Corruptor” – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire)

This is the first, last, and only time I’ll discuss the Edwards trial. I agree with Pierce; it’s crap. When Sheldon Addelson or Tom Ricketts or the Koch Brothers can throw $10 million at a candidate at any level on a whim, then who the hell cares about a million dollars in a Presidential campaign? John Edwards has already been tried and convicted by the court of public opinion, which is really the only court that matters these days.

“Why are Democrats losing the Wisconsin recall?” – Molly Ball (The Atlantic)

A couple of reasons, actually.

  1. Scott Walker literally never stopped fundraising, because he knew what he was gonna do was gonna get him recalled. He’s outspending Tom Barrett 3:1.
  2. The Democratic Party is bought and paid for by the same Wall Street gangsters that have bought and paid for the GOP, and they’re not huge fans of unions.
  3. The Democratic Party is hamstrung by an apparent disinterest in actually winning elections, preferring “moral” victories to “actual” victories.
  4. The Democratic Party has refused to embrace the ideas represented by the Occupy movement, unlike the Republicans who wholeheartedly embraced the Tea Party, in the hopes of capturing the mythical “centrist/independent” vote that no longer exists in a quantity large enough to matter in any election above Dog Catcher.
  5. The Democratic party refuses to talk about Scott Walker’s ongoing legal problems, where apparently everyone in Scott Walker’s office was doing something illegal, but Walker himself had no idea what was going on. That makes him either a moron or a liar, possibly both.

Really, I can go on and on like this for a while, but you get the point. It’s why I hate the Democratic Party almost as much as I hate the GOP. For all the GOP’s sturm und drang, at least they’re doing what the people that vote for them want to do (even if it’s a collection of colossally stupid ideas). The Democrats have essentially said “Look, the other side is nutballs, so you’re either gonna hang out with us or go play on the monkey bars by yourself.” and because no one wants to be the weird kid just hanging from the monkey bars by themselves, we all play along.

Unions gave us the 40 hour work week, 2 weeks paid vacation and paid holidays, safe workplaces, and living wages. Now they’re under attack from people that would return us to Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”, and the Democratic Party can’t be bothered to defend them.

With friends like these, who needs anemones?

“Is income inequality stalling the US economy?” – John Stoehr (Al-Jazeera)

A good theory. Here’s a better one: the wealthiest individuals are opposed to infrastructure spending because it’s less money available for them and their friends to siphon out of the government and the American public.

“This is insane: the intimidation game against Conservative bloggers” – Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic)

I would be remiss and just as bad as the people I claim to loathe if I didn’t mention this.

This is abhorrent behavior, and unacceptable in a civilized society. Political speech is the bedrock of the First Amendment, and requires protection. And yet, here we are.

We’re here because our national political discourse is roughly equivalent to Idiocracy’s “Ass: The Movie”. Because the center no longer exists; we’re all partisans now. Because news organizations no longer report the news; they report talking points and propaganda, and all the things that are actually in the public interest are left on the editing room floor.

We’re here because our two major political parties have been bought and paid for by a handful of ultra-wealthy individuals in a dysfunctional symbiosis that keeps everyone involved in power.

I hate the “both sides do it” argument. But, in this particular case, both sides do do it. While MSNBC isn’t as bad as Fox, the fact remains that it’s regular viewers are still less informed than those that listen to NPR or watch The Daily Show.

Our cities are crumbling, our educational system is failing, our political parties no longer represent the people they claim to serve. And yet, we can’t stop talking about absolute crap.