We’ve hit the hot and humid dog days of August, and while I know we are suffering much less than our friends in Texas, South Carolina, or Oklahoma (not to mention the fires out west), I’m mostly staying in on this ozone action day. It’s a month when you want to avoid serious political stories if you can, and thankfully, the party that has nothing other that its double standard is helping us out with our entertainment needs once again.
Remember way back in 2008 when a tea party group made a hit job movie about Hilary, and they weren’t allowed to show it online just before the election because it violated our campaign laws? Yes, children, there was a time in America when there was such a thing as campaign laws. The whole right side of our political spectrum–yes, of the spectrum!–went ballistic and pushed the case all the way to our Supreme Court. In what became, in early 2010, the Citizen’s United decision, the court basically threw out all our campaign finance laws and said anything goes. And go it did. The 2012 election cycle saw more money spent than ever before, and so much of it spent anonymously that we didn’t know who to get upset with. We only knew we were tired of seeing commercials on TV.
In a delicious August bit of be careful what you wish for lest it come back to bite you, the Republican National Committee is now very upset–I mean, really, really upset; we know because RNC chairman Reince Priebus said so–that CNN and NBC were both talking about making movies about Hilary. (Until she does or does not run for president, she will remain in the eyes of our media, the only interesting politician and the only one worth paying any attention to). That would be unfair, whined the RNC. They were assuming–why, I’m not sure–that both films would be sunny, pro-Hilary epics. The RNC was so upset that it had a vote. Yes, a vote I tell you. They even let all their eligible members vote, which is a philosophy they definitely do not want extended to the country as a whole.
And so they voted to have the RNC boycott both CNN and NBC and not let them participate in any of the Republican primary debates if they went ahead with their movies. OMG. Ice cream all around for everyone! Crack open the bubbly! If only we had media with any guts whatsoever, CNN and NBC would simply say, fine. It’s not like the primary debates resembled actual debates or even informative discussions by anyone’s definition of those things. CNN and NBC don’t need those debates. I’d bet their ratings would go up if they said great, bring on the boycott. Then they would be free to report the news rather than regurgitate press releases and act like the questions at those primary debates were actual questions. And forget about the answers. Even the candidates couldn’t remember the answers they wanted to give. Alas, I’ll believe CNN and NBC will call the RNC bluff when I see it. Still, your dreams must exceed reality, else what’s a dream for? It goes something like that, right?
Should the entertaining antics of the RNC not be enough to sate your appetite for summer politics and you find yourself still hungry for real news, however troubling, you can read Robert Reich’s excellent essay on how the gridlock in Washington doesn’t stop government from functioning, but does stop democracy in its tracks. Or Jonathan Turley’s take on Glen Greenwald’s partner (he is the journalist who released his interview with Edward Snowden) being held for nine hours at a British airport, simply because he was Greenwald’s partner. If you’re still hungry and really want to dig your teeth into something, try Noam Chomsky’s speech on the U.S. behaving like a democracy, or not. And finally, a quick bit of fun and useful history looks at how Ayn Rand became the right wing icon she is today. Because there was a time when conservatives (like other sane people) found her preposterous. The most famous of these opinions is the–absolutely essential reading–essay by Whitaker Chambers in 1957, published in the National Review (the grand-daddy of conservative magazines, started by William F. Buckley himself) with the title “Big Sister is Watching You.”