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Brad Pitt is making a movie about Anonymous in Steubenville

Anonymous is set to get its first Hollywood film, all thanks to Brad Pitt and his production company, Plan B Entertainment, which is fresh off its Oscar win for 12 Years A Slave. The story? Anonymous vs. Steubenville – the tragic case of teen rape in a sleepy Ohio town, and the ensuing cover-up that saw Anonymous coming to its rescue.

In 2012, two football players from the local high school sexually assaulted an unconscious 16-year-old girl over a period of several hours, filmed the attack and bragged about it through various social media channels – only to find themselves exposed and attacked by enraged members of the hacktivist group. Now, Plan B Entertainment has secured the rights to the Rolling Stone article "Anonymous vs. Steubenville", which details the instrumental efforts of Anonymous hacker Deric Lostutter in uncovering the truth that senior Steubenville officials tried so hard to cover up.

For his efforts, the teenage rapists faced one year in juvenile prison (one has already walked free), while Lostutter could face ten years in prison for alleged invasions of privacy – primarily leaking a damning video of the assault that proved the girl was already incapacitated. So basically, sex criminals can walk free while a extrajudicial hacker with good intentions faces jail time; either way, it sounds like exactly the kind of dramatic moral conundrum that Hollywood loves.

In the Rolling Stone article, Lostutter says he simply saw an injustice that needed fixing. "Bullying pisses me off," he told journalist David Kushner. Lostutter has since confirmed the movie but says he has "no further comment"


Tennessee teacher out of a job after taking sick student to ER and paying the bill

By Tina Robinson

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right.

However, this was the reality for a Tennessee teacher named Jennifer Mitts, who says she was forced to resign from her post at Red Bank High School after she took an ill student to the emergency room and paid for the bill.

Mitts footed the bill because the 20-year-old student did not have health insurance, according to an online petition supporting the teacher.

Even though officials at the school say that they were only threatening to suspend the teacher for her caring deed, Mitts told WTVC-TV that school officials “dictated to (me) what (I) should write in the resignation letter, including forcing (me) to waive (my) right to a hearing.”



Lessig- Originalists Making It Up Again: McCutcheon and ‘Corruption’

by Lawrence Lessig

At the core of the disaster that is the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision lies a mistake. A strategic mistake, made by the government. In this mistake, we can see all that’s wrong with modern American constitutional law.

From the first moment that this case arose, it has been obvious to everyone that the decision would turn on the meaning of the word “corruption.” Congress has the power to regulate campaign contributions only if it is doing so to regulate “corruption.” So the central question raised by McCutcheon was this: Is a law limiting aggregate contributions a law designed to limit “corruption?”

The answer to that question obviously turns on the meaning of the word. If “corruption” means just quid pro quo—the stuff regulated by bribery laws—then it was clear to everyone that it would be tough going for the government to defend aggregate limits.

The reason was pretty obvious. The Court has upheld limits on individual contributions to avoid quid pro quo corruption or the “appearance of corruption.” But the Court has also said that those individual limits can’t be set too low, or else the limit would have no connection to corruption or the “appearance of corruption.” So a contribution limit of $500, for example, would plainly fail the Court’s quid pro quo rationale, since none would think that a contribution of $500 bespeaks quid pro quo corruption.

So what if someone wanted to give $500 to every Democratic candidate running for Congress?



Toon- Avoiding the appearance

Charles P Pierce- The American Government Is Open For Corruption

The remarkable story of how we have come to privatize political corruption in this country reached another milestone today as the Supreme Court, John Roberts presiding, handed down its decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, effectively demolishing the aggregate, two-year limit on contributions by individuals, and taking a big chunk out of Buckley v. Valeo, the misbegotten 1976 decision that got the ball rolling in the first place. It was a 5-4 vote, with the court split exactly as it had in the Citizens United case. In writing the opinion for the court, Roberts further emphasized the equation of money with speech, and also seemed to agree with Anthony Kennedy's famous assertion in Citizens United that the ability of megadonors to shovel gobs of money into the election process,"We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." Roberts writes:

Significant First Amendment interests are implicated here. Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual'sright to participate in the electoral process through both political ex-pression and political association. A restriction on how many candi-dates and committees an individual may support is hardly a "modestrestraint" on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tella newspaper how many candidates it may endorse. In its simplest terms, the aggregate limits prohibit an individual from fully contrib-uting to the primary and general election campaigns of ten or more candidates, even if all contributions fall within the base limits. And it is no response to say that the individual can simply contribute lessthan the base limits permit: To require one person to contribute atlower levels because he wants to support more candidates or causesis to penalize that individual for "robustly exercis[ing]" his FirstAmendment rights. (Davis v. Federal Election Comm'n, 554 U. S. 724, 739.) In assessing the First Amendment interests at stake, the proper fo-cus is on an individual's right to engage in political speech, not a col-lective conception of the public good. The whole point of the FirstAmendment is to protect individual speech that the majority might prefer to restrict, or that legislators or judges might not view as use-ful to the democratic process. The aggregate limits do not further the permissible governmental interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or its appearance.

What's good for Koch Industries is good for Sheldon Adelson, I guess. Roberts goes on.

This Court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. See Davis, supra, at 741. Moreover, the only type of corruption that Congress may target is quid pro quo corruption. Spending large sums of money in connection with elec-tions, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder's official duties, does not give rise to quid pro quo corrup-tion. Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner "influence over or access to" elected officials or political parties.

And John Roberts apparently resides on Neptune. And, in case you didn't get the point.

Finally, disclosure of contributions minimizes the potential for abuse of the campaign finance system. Disclosure requirements are in part "justified based on a governmental interest in ‘provid[ing] the electorate with information' about the sources of election-related spending." Citizens United, 558 U. S., at 367 (quoting Buckley, supra, at 66).They may also "deter actual corruption and avoid theappearance of corruption by exposing large contributionsand expenditures to the light of publicity." Disclosure requirements burden speech, but, unlike the aggregate limits, they do not impose a ceiling on speech.

Having earlier argued that there was a First Amendment issue to be found in the aggregate limits because they hindered an individual's right to participate in the political process -- It is here helpful to note the everlasting irony of Antonin Scalia's view of Bush v. Gore. There is no individual right to vote, but an individual's right to purchase a candidate must be untrammeled -- but here, Roberts is saying it plain. To restrict money is to restrict speech. Period. And the only real legal restraint on the wholesale subletting of American democracy is John Roberts's strange devotion to "disclosure" as some sort of shaming mechanism within the electorate. Good luck with that one.



I’m one of the worst teachers in my state

We must hate teachers. I've won awards, my kids thrive. But thanks to crazy tests, I'm being shamed by Florida

I didn’t think I’d like teaching, but instantly loved it when I gave it a shot, and was immediately acclaimed as having a natural affinity for it. I love the children, learning, and seeing them learn and grow. I work tirelessly to give them engaging experiences that bring learning to life.

In the past decade, I have been greatly moved and honored to win numerous awards and been nominated for more still. My curriculum night presentations are always standing room only, because I’m the funny teacher who is going to make that half-hour come to life with hands-on science, leaving them running to the administration to sing my praises.

I initiated and continue to run the chess and drama clubs with no remuneration. I do get a small stipend for being the academic games coordinator, running the Mathletes team and spelling bee for the school, along with keeping the staff and students informed of enrichment opportunities like academic competitions. I organize the field trips for my grade level and a trip for fourth- and fifth-graders to spend three days at an oceanographic institute in the Florida Keys.

My own fifth-grade gifted students will end this year with a full understanding of three Shakespearean plays, as class sets of these and other texts were secured through my Donors Choose requests. Saturday, I’ll be the designated representative picking up free materials for my school. I write the full year’s lesson plans over the summer (then tweak them as I go).



note- I am just posting this, I am not the author

Citigroup CEO Named To “Top Administration Post”

By Simon Johnson

Just a few short days ago, it looked like Citigroup was on the ropes. The company’s proposal for redistributing capital back to shareholders was rejected by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Given the global bank’s repeated fiascos – including most recently the theft of around $400 million from its Mexican unit – it is hardly surprising that the Fed has said “no” (and for the second time in three years).

The idea that Citigroup might now or soon have a viable “living will” now seems preposterous. If top management cannot run sensible financial projections (that’s the Fed’s view; see p.7 of the full report), what is the chance that they can lay out a plausible plan to explain how the company, operating in more than 100 countries worldwide, could be wound down through bankruptcy – without any financial assistance from the government? According to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, failure to submit a viable living will should result in remedial action by the authorities.

Such action has now been taken: CEO Michael Corbat has been named to a top White House job, with responsibility for helping to develop “financial capability for young Americans.”

But the White House announcement is dated March 27, 2014 (just as the failed stress test news was breaking) – and it is their media team who use the term “top administration post”. Mr. Corbat’s new job has subsequently been confirmed by the Financial Services Roundtable (roundup email of 03/28/14), and no one knows more about the detailed relationship between Big Finance and government.


The Party of Wrong, Wronger and Wrongest

Published on April 2nd, 2014 | by James Schlarmann

Skewed polls. Remember them? That was the theory that had people like Karl Rove and pretty much everyone who appeared on Fox News during the 2012 election absolutely convinced that Mittenforth Q. Romneytron would win the election and the nasty liberal insurgency in Washington would be over.

The notion they got was that the “liberal lamestream media” — because remember all non-conservative media outlets are in secret cahoots with each other — were skewing their polls by oversampling Democrats. Therefore if you “corrected” that “mistake” (which wasn’t actually being made), you’d see much different polling numbers. So someone on their side decided to “un-skew” the polls and after he worked his math magic/mythology, suddenly conservatives had numbers to prove that Romney had “momentum” and was going to knock off Obama in an 11th hour stand the likes of which have never been seen. Well, jump cut to today and the website unskewedpolls.com is suspended due to non-payment of their bill, and to add insult to injury, Romney isn’t president, the polls were never skewed and Rove looked like a massive baby having a massive tantrum on election night.

Snake oil just doesn’t sell like it used to…or depending on the state you live in, maybe it does.

I’ve written several times in the past about how conservatives and Republicans are the absolute worst at predicting things. This is not shocking when you consider the fact that they view life through a very unrealistic prism. The private sector is more moral and upstanding than the government, right? Tell that to GM. Rich people, when given tax breaks, take that left over money they suddenly have and sprinkle it all over our economy, trickling down a shower of cash onto the working class, right? Tell that to the income gap. Remember when Dick Cheney told us we’d find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we’d be greeted as “liberators” in that country once we deposed Saddam Hussein? Republicans have the absolutely, positively most defective and broken crystal ball you could possibly imagine.

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, as an article on HuffPo just pointed out, conservatives have been just as wrong as they have been about every other dire prediction they’ve made. The funny thing to me is that the ACA was basically born from The Heritage Foundation’s loins. It was a conservative idea first implemented by Romneytron in Massachusetts when he was governor there. It’s also been hugely successfully there and it was so important to Mittens’ legacy it was painted into his official governor’s portrait. They very same man who crafted Romneycare crafted Obamacare. So how the hell people like Bill Kristol and John Boehner could be so wrong about something their party should have the most intimate knowledge of is beyond me. Or, well, maybe it’s not…

- See more at: http://www.politicalgarbagechute.com/the-party-of-wrong-wronger-and-wrongest/

Mississippi Legislature Passes ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill That Legalizes Discrimination


The Mississippi legislature has passed legislation that would allow people to use their religion to justify discrimination. It seemed last month that the “religious liberty” bill had sufficiently stalled after the House voted to send it a study committee instead of passing it, with many members noting how it could be used to promote discrimination. However, both the House and Senate have approved a conference report on the bill, advancing it to Gov. Phil Bryant (R) with problematic language.

“Religious liberty” bills like the one vetoed in Arizona differ from other states’ “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRAs) because they extend religious protections to businesses. Mississippi’s bill has this same problem, because state law already defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations.” Thus, if Bryant were to sign Mississippi’s bill into law, it would grant all businesses in the state a license to discriminate based on religious grounds.

Mississippi does not currently have any state or local nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community, but a business could use this legislation to justify discrimination against anybody not protected by federal law. Public accommodations that are supposed to provide equal access to all citizens could attempt to refuse service to divorcees, people who’ve had children outside of wedlock, or anyone else who might give rise to a religious objection. And if any town or city in Mississippivoted to extend protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity, businesses could claim that those protections violate their religious beliefs and insist on discriminating against LGBT people.

Though proponents of such “religious liberty” bills claim that they do not promote discrimination, the examples they cite to explain why such legislation is necessary entail photographers and bakers refusing service to same-sex couples. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins praised Mississippi for advancing this bill, specifically highlighting how it would protect “a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith will not allow her to affirm same-sex ‘marriage.’”

Bryant has not yet indicated whether he intends to sign the bill.



Sen. Sanders- What world are the five conservative Supreme Court justices living in?

The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down overall campaign contribution limits. The law that the 5-4 ruling voided has prevented individuals from contributing more than $123,000 to candidates and party committees per election cycle. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has proposed a constitutional amendment to restore the power of Congress and state lawmakers to limit campaign donations, blasted the ruling.“Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government,” Sanders said.

The ruling gives wealthy donors like the billionaires Charles and David Koch more power to influence elections. An earlier ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC resulted in a record $7 billion being spent in the 2012 election cycle, including at least $400 million by the Koch brothers alone. “What world are the five conservative Supreme Court justices living in?” Sanders asked. “To equate the ability of billionaires to buy elections with ‘freedom of speech’ is totally absurd. The Supreme Court is paving the way toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson will control our political process.”

At issue in the latest case was a limit on how much donors may give to all candidates and political organizations during a two-year federal election cycle. The cap now is $123,200. That includes a separate $48,600 limit on contributions to individual candidates during 2013 and 2014. A separate $2,600 limit on how much one individual may give to any specific candidate for Congress in any election is not directly at stake in this case.

The latest ruling comes on the heels of a disastrous 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which threw out campaign funding laws that limited what wealthy individuals and corporations could spend on elections. Since that ruling, campaign spending by Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate, the Koch brothers and a handful of other billionaire families has fundamentally undermined American democracy.


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