Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.
The one thing American popular culture loves is a good “freak show.” Anything out of the ordinary gets our society’s attention, but the more bizarre it is, the more media attention it receives. The demand for the outlandish is so outrageous that so-called media conglomerates are willing to pay millions of dollars for the rights [...]