theatlantic:

Legalized Corruption and the Twilight of Campaign-Finance Law

In McCutcheon v. FEC , the Supreme Court finds that those whose lack of money stifles their voices are simply losers in a fair democratic system.
Read more. [Image: Gary Cameron/Reuters]

theatlantic:

Legalized Corruption and the Twilight of Campaign-Finance Law

In McCutcheon v. FEC , the Supreme Court finds that those whose lack of money stifles their voices are simply losers in a fair democratic system.

Read more. [Image: Gary Cameron/Reuters]

"

“The government’s prosecution of Megaupload demonstrates the implications of the government acting as a proxy for private commercial interests. The government is using its enforcement powers to accomplish what most copyright owners haven’t been willing to do in civil court,” Goldman writes.

“The revolving door between government and the content industry” and the “Obama administration’s desire to curry continued favor and campaign contributions from well-heeled sources,” are the main motivations Goldman cites.

"

Megaupload Prosecution Is Lawless and Unconstitutional, Law Professor Says | TorrentFreak

Derivatives: The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks

in which we see that JP Morgan Chase’s derivatives exposure is about $70 trillion dollars - equivalent to the entire world economy. And that’s just one of the dozen or so banks considered “too big to fail”.

SHORT STORY: Pick something of value, make bets on the future value of “something”, add contract & you have a derivative. Banks make massive profits on derivatives, and when the bubble bursts chances are the tax payer will end up with the bill. This visualizes the total coverage for derivatives (notional). Similar to insurance company’s total coverage for all cars. (via Derivatives - The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks)

Derivatives: The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks

in which we see that JP Morgan Chase’s derivatives exposure is about $70 trillion dollars - equivalent to the entire world economy. And that’s just one of the dozen or so banks considered “too big to fail”.

SHORT STORY: Pick something of value, make bets on the future value of “something”, add contract & you have a derivative. Banks make massive profits on derivatives, and when the bubble bursts chances are the tax payer will end up with the bill. This visualizes the total coverage for derivatives (notional). Similar to insurance company’s total coverage for all cars. (via Derivatives - The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks)

"Congress raises money from contributors who support and oppose the laws they make. SOPAtrack analyzes these contributions to see how often Congress votes with the money." — via @lessig

the top 10 voters with the money (meaning, they vote in line with their campaign donors) are 9 Republicans and 1 independent. the top 10 voters against the money are all Democrats. I have to admit being amazed by this, because I know the corrupting influence of money in politics is very much non-partisan. I’m not sure what to make of this yet.

(via TSA Waste)

(via TSA Waste)

These revelations should not come as a surprise. But what’s impressive is just how concentrated the giving is. Between them, these nine presidential Super PACs have raised more than $62 million. Of that money, almost half (48%) has come from just 22 individuals.

We’ve already seen just how potent these super PACs can be in the first few Republican primary contests. As the electoral season moves on, super PACs will likely expand to House and Senate races as well. If what we’ve seen so far is any indication, more and more political fundraising will be dominated by the handful of super-wealthy individuals and corporations who can and will spend seven figures. These kinds of contributions can change the dynamics of a political campaign, which gives these individuals incredible potential power. It cannot be a good thing for our electoral process. (via The presidential super PACs: five takeaways - Sunlight Foundation)

These revelations should not come as a surprise. But what’s impressive is just how concentrated the giving is. Between them, these nine presidential Super PACs have raised more than $62 million. Of that money, almost half (48%) has come from just 22 individuals.

We’ve already seen just how potent these super PACs can be in the first few Republican primary contests. As the electoral season moves on, super PACs will likely expand to House and Senate races as well. If what we’ve seen so far is any indication, more and more political fundraising will be dominated by the handful of super-wealthy individuals and corporations who can and will spend seven figures. These kinds of contributions can change the dynamics of a political campaign, which gives these individuals incredible potential power. It cannot be a good thing for our electoral process. (via The presidential super PACs: five takeaways - Sunlight Foundation)

"If we’re willing to spend $750 billion (so far) to make democracy in Iraq possible, we should be willing to spend one-twenty-fifth of that to make democracy in America work."

Lawrence Lessig in Republic, Lost (via think-progress)

Previously: Iraq war facts & stats

(via kateoplis)

(via kateoplis)

"Alarmed by the mogul boycott, Sarandos sent a personal plea to the Hollywood studio chiefs over the weekend begging them to continue supporting the Obama re-election campaign even though he knows they are disappointed with the Obama administration’s position on the piracy bills. Several moguls, in response, ”sent back word saying ‘F*ck You’ basically,” one insider tells me, expressing how they feel used and abused by the President despite their campaign contributions."

Hollywood’s Obama Donors On President’s Piracy Stand: Not Give A Dime Anymore

"what do you mean, our money can’t buy us the laws we want?! BUT BUT" … oh, this is just too priceless. what a delightful thing, to watch this bubble of entitlement being deflated, ever so slightly.

Me, MIA?: On the SOPA soap opera

lessig:

So it’s flattering to be missed, @JeffRoberts. Thank you for that. You’re right, I am not at the center of the SOPA fight (though obviously a strong supporter). Here’s a couple sentences why. 

First, and again, this is a critical battle to wage and win. SOPA is just the latest, but in  many ways, the most absurd campaign in the endless saga of America’s copyright wars. It will be yet another failed attempt in a failed war, and I obviously believe it should be opposed. 

But second, and as you describe, this isn’t my war anymore. Not because my heart isn’t in it, but because I don’t believe we will win that war (or better, win the peace and move on) — even if we can win battles like this one — until the more basic corruption that is our government gets addressed. That’s the fight I have spent the last 4 years working on. That’s where I’ll be for at least the next 6. 

Third, my going missing here is not something to miss. There is a world of fantastic and powerful new advocates here — my favorites include Fight for the Future and Demand Progress, and the just launched today, StopCensorship.org — and there remains the incredible gaggle of more traditional heros, including EFF and Public Knowledge. More importantly, there are crucial statesmen (and women) who are the rightful leaders on this fight — email Senator Wyden and Congresswoman Lofgren and thank them, please. If I have anything to contribute to these fights, I have contributed it again and again in writing and lectures. My lectures in this space are CC licensed (RSS); my books in this space are CC licensed (Remix, Free Culture, The Future of Ideas, Codev2, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace). When your own writing gets called “derivative“ of your own writing, it is time to move on.  

But fourth: I don’t think it’s fair to call the current project “quixotic and at worst as a Nader-like vanity project.” I’m not running for anything, and I’m not alone in this fight. There is an extraordinary range of powerful souls fighting now for this essential change — from Cenk Ugur’s WolfPAC, to Dylan Ratigan & Jimmy Williams’ GetMoneyOut, to the just launched United Re:Public, to the longstanding work of Americans for Campaign Reform, Public Campaign, Public Citizen and Common Cause. We are all working for the same fundamental change, as we are all convinced that until we achieve that change, this democracy will not work.

Of course, as my book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It (Twelve 2011), describes, this is an insanely difficult, possibly impossible, fight. But whether difficult or not, it is the fight that must be waged.  

For this is what I know: We will never (as in not ever) win the war you care about until we win the war against this corruption of our Republic.

There is only one sacred text in this war: For every thousand hacking at the branches of evil, there is one striking at the root. So, please, Jeff: rally many many souls to those thousands. But please set aside at least some cycles to be one with that one as well.

Rootstrikers. (Republic, Lost: The preso)

oh man, this is hilariously brilliant and spot-on. :)