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http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Crazy Uncle Ron Doesn't Understand Crimea

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In a USA Today op-ed, Ron Paul asks why the United States should care about what's going on in Crimea:

What's the big deal? Opponents of the Crimea vote like to point to the illegality of the referendum. But self-determination is a centerpiece of international law. Article I of the United Nations Charter points out clearly that the purpose of the U.N. is to "develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples."

Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?

If you read most mainstream news coverage of the Crimea referendum, you've probably heard about the 97%+ vote in favor of joining Russia, and how the vote was probably rigged or otherwise influenced by the occupying Russian army. Ron Paul argues that the illegitimacy of the vote shouldn't matter:

Critics point to the Russian "occupation" of Crimea as evidence that no fair vote could have taken place. Where were these people when an election held in an Iraq occupied by U.S. troops was called a "triumph of democracy"?

Just, wow, holy shitballs, where to start...

Yes, both regions were occupied by a foreign invader. Here's the differences:

(1) Iraq was being asked to whether or not to become a member of the nation that just invaded it.

(2) The options in Iraq weren't, "Would you prefer to be ruled by a governor appointed by George W. Bush, or to break into half a dozen smaller autonomous nations?"

You see, in the Crimean referendum the choices were only to join Russia or to become autonomous. The decision to maintain the status quo as part of Ukraine was taken off the table, which is why the vote was so skewed towards joining Russia -- people who wanted to stay in the Ukraine decided not to vote as a form of protest.

 

Now all that aside, there still is the question why we should care if people decide to secede from their nation. And to answer that question we can go back 150 or so years to Abraham Lincoln and the years leading up to the Civil War.

In numerous speeches Lincoln talked about preserving the Union, and the reason wasn't just that the United States is so awesome. To Lincoln the preservation of the Union meant something much greater, it meant the survival of democracy and the rule of law. If secession became the mechanism by which nations resolved major disputes the nation would soon fall completely apart. The North and South would split, then New England may split from the rest of the North (an idea that had been contemplated there before the war). Rich areas would secede when they decided they didn't want to support poor areas. States would split off over abortion, the death penalty, health care, social security, war votes, defense spending, any number of things. With more small nations with competing interests we'd see the kinds of local conflicts predicted by the authors of the Federalist Papers, and we'd devolve into warring city states until an authoritarian empire invaded.

That's why we care about self-determination going to the point of secession.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Against Loan Forgiveness

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This White House petition just came to our attention resulting in a massive headdesk:

The Presidents proposed 2015 Budget includes a provision that will change the Public Interest Loan Forgiveness (PILF) program by capping overall forgiveness to $57,500. This change only hurts the hard working employees who work by serving their community often in low-wage jobs. These individuals' student loan amounts often exceed the cap as they consist of people with more than a college degree: Social Workers, Speech Pathologists, Lawyers, etc. These dedicated public servants chose to work for the public good with the added promise that their dedicated service of 10 years would be rewarded with complete loan forgiveness, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath them by a misstep by the administration. Please sign this petition and support those who work to help you.

This is just another case of special snowflake syndrome, but not the way you think. The people calling for loan forgiveness are absolutely right that education is way too expensive and if you have to use debt to finance your education you'd be unable to take low paying public interest jobs. They're not asking for loan forgiveness because of a sense of entitlement, they're asking for it because they want to be public servants and they don't see any other way of doing it with their debt loads.

It's special snowflake syndrome because it fails to ask a very simple question: How does this affect other people?

Loan forgiveness programs present the college-bound with a very enticing narrative: Either you'll make a lot of money in the private sector and your loans won't be a problem, or if you don't get such a job you can go into the public sector and your loans won't be a problem. Either way you do not need to care about how large your loans are. And when customers don't care how much they have to pay, prices skyrocket.

And that royally fucks things up for the folks starting college after you. Tuition keeps rising and when they enter the workforce fewer of those private sector jobs will cover their debt. That increases competition for public interest programs and that competition means there's too many high-debt grads for the number of jobs. Now you've got people with huge debtloads who can't pay them off.

Just to kick the folks behind you in line while they're already down, the more of your loans that you get forgiven, the less money there is to go around for everything else, and the less popular these forgiveness programs become, making it increasingly likely that we'll have to either lower the amount available or get rid of the forgiveness entirely.

 

The better alternative to loan forgiveness is increased wages. If your job pays (after taxes) $30,000 and gives you $10,000 in loan forgiveness that's exactly the same as paying you $40k and letting you give the bank $10k. Bank gets paid the same and you have the same money left over.

What's different though are the incentives. If you're going to be making $40k no matter how high your loans are, you're going to seriously consider keeping them low. Price competition among universities helps to bring down the cost for everyone, so bam, you've already done a tremendous public service even before you've graduated.

Funneling the money into salaries also allows public sector jobs to attract better employees. By having so much of the compensation tied up in loan forgiveness the jobs attract people with lots of debt while people with high debt will tend to look elsewhere. Now this is just going to be a general trend, but we're willing to bet that people who graduate with little debt are more likely to be desirable employees. People who got scholarships tend to be pretty bright, people who worked to pay their way have experience, and people whose parents paid out of pocket have parents who can donate to the public interest organizations their kids are working for (and have friends that can be hit up for donations as well).

So, people with debt aren't any worse off, people without debt are better off, there's an incentive to keep your costs under control so you're better off, and keeping costs under control helps everyone else. Who's hurt by this? People with above average debt. If the money is moved into salaries, people aren't being compensated based on their debt, so people with a ton of debt are now worse off. ...Tough? It's certainly not a perfect system, and governing means making choices, picking winners and losers. Sure there will be some losers, people who were previously winners in the system, but the current plan of debt forgiveness just makes the entire game stink.

All I Want For Christmas Is To Sue

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It's not even Iron Bowl (ie: Thanksgiving) weekend yet, but apparently the Christmas season has already started. Of course, for those of you with jobs, the Christmas season started with Q4 when you looked at how far you were from reaching your annual billable hour target.

But, there's a cold front hitting New England and the Mid-Atlantic, and snowflakes have been spotted in Philly -- and we don't just mean the newest crop of students who think they'll beat the law school employment odds. Actual, melt on the ground, not melt-down in your class snowflakes. So, I guess that means it's Christmas Law Revue video season.

And by season, we mean one video from some kids at Syracuse Law. Enjoy:

We also would have liked: All I Want For Christmas Are Two Vacant Seats (on the Supreme Court)

Gives a new meaning to "Bang on the drum all day."

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Millennials are shallow, lazy, entitled, self-centered, delusional, trophy brats. They expect to be given great jobs right out of college when they've got zero experience and have not yet put in any of the hard work (except for the last 16 years of hard work, but no credit for time served). And they expect that great job to come with a pile of money (after adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage has dropped 20% over the last 40 years, and Gen Y is entering the workforce with $25,000+ of debt). It's like these damn kids think they don't have to spend the first two years of their careers fetching coffee and doing grunt administrative work for free (something never before expected of any generation).

So if Gen Y is busy tweeting their entitled attitudes during their lunch break (which was supposed to be spent working, you bums!), just what is the incredibly industrious Boomer generation doing all day?

Turns out they're looking at porn.

And they're bad at it.

A survey of 200 IT professionals found that 40% had to spend time removing malware from an executives computer which was downloaded by clicking a malicious link on a porn website. There are laptops, and tablets, and loads of free porn websites that are free of malware, so the Boomer executives (that's right, executives) aren't just wasting their time at work looking at porn, they don't even understand how computers or the internet works.

It's not just the folks who accidentally dropped their little blue pills into their morning coffee either. 56% of IT professionals said that executives had downloaded malware by clicking on a link on a phishing e-mail. Another 45% found malware that got there because the executive let a family member use their work computer -- and assuming they're not lying, that means the family member was smart enough to do all their dirty work on someone else's device. Perhaps the wrong person is in the boss's chair.

So, maybe Millennials are lazy and entitled, but they're at least modest about it. They want to be paid to do a job. Boomers want to be paid 270x as much to watch porn.

Page 6 of 342

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