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As Milton Friedman reminds us, "The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits."

GE, which owns NBC, has a sacred duty to its stockholders. They would be insane to include Kucinich in the debate: he advocates things that would adversely affect their bottom line, like, say, getting America's murderous hordes out of Iraq asap, something the vast majority of the public wants but which would eat into GE's armament profits.

That's why they're spending untold sums of money on their "crack" legal team to work through the night, conjuring up legal ways to keep him out of the debate (even though it's a foregone conclusion that the initial decision will be overturned by some higher federal judge). (Q: If a presidential candidate talks in the forest but no one hears him, does he make a sound?)

So what's the problem? Having him join the debate would be a conflict of interest between the social responsibility of the corporation, and some imaginary civic responsibility people think a privately-owned network ought to have to some imaginary democratic society. Plus, Clinton sold the public airwaves to them during his watch, and now it's time to return the favor. Their decision makes complete sense for a whole host of reasons.

Plus, in the Orwellian spirit of the times, if a corporation is legally defined as a person, then they are completely correct in claiming that the ruling is an infringement on their first amendments rights to exercise free speech. Just because the serfs en masse have their own needs doesn't mean their feudal lord has any mandate to respect them. (Then again, just because the serfs don't trust nor like their feudal lord doesn't mean they won't still serve him. In fact, the more the feudal lord is aware of their disgust, the more overtly arrogant, condescending and malicious their behavior. What is a serf to a feudal lord?!)

This is a crystalline example of the fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the economic needs and power of the private corporation, and what best serves the public interest. My advice is that since no one is going to do anything about it — no big violent protests, no banding together in communal insurrection, etc. — the least you can do is to stop watching TV altogether, stop whining, and stop playing their game: just because America is now officially run as a crooked casino, it doesn't mean that you have to play at the tables.

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[updated <3 hours later]

Court: MSNBC Can Bar Kucinich

I, for one, am shocked! Shocked, I say!