Jun 24

Bankruptcy Attorneys and Debt

Many newly certified attorneys choose to practice in the field of personal bankruptcy.  This is a niche of law that is perpetually in high demand.  It can be a fairly broad area, however, and requires a far-reaching spectrum of expertise that can be challenging for inexperienced attorneys.  Many times, when meeting with a prospective client it is necessary to refer them to a credit card calculator to determine with certainty whether their debt load is in fact insurmountable.

When you use a credit card calculator, you can determine how much those credit card purchases are really costing you. Many people spend freely on their credit cards any time they want or need something but do not have the cash to pay for it immediately. They think that by paying the minimum balance on their bill every month, they are staying ahead of the payments and maintaining a healthy credit history. This is not always true, especially if you have a credit card with a high interest rate. Calculators can show you how much your purchases are actually costing you, and how long it will take you to pay off your entire balance. The results can be shocking.

Many online calculators will give you step by step instructions. You will be asked to enter information about your credit card, including your balance, the amount of your monthly payment, and the amount of interest you pay. You might not even know what your interest rate is, so be sure to dig out a past statement or check your account online to find it, using a residential VPN such as this can help too. Once you plug in the proper numbers, take a look at how quickly a $1,000 balance can turn into twice that much, or even more. You can also get information on how long you will be paying off that balance, if you continue making the monthly payment you presently make.

Use this information to your advantage by making some changes. Once you get an assessment from your credit card calculator, start taking steps to pay the balance off quicker. Increase the amount you pay every month, and stop using the credit card for every day purchases, such as gas and groceries. If your interest rate is outrageous, give the credit card company a call and see if you can negotiate a lower rate. They are often willing to work with good customers because they know you have other options.

Another good way to use these calculators is to compare different credit card offers. Perhaps you have decided to open a credit card, and you are unsure of which card will be to your greatest benefits. Many credit card companies will have a place on their website where you can compare their card with other offers. This can help you responsibly choose a credit card with the lowest interest rate and most favorable repayment terms.

Take advantage of any online credit card calculator you can find. It might serve as a huge wake up call to you if you use your credit without thinking about how it impacts your long term financial health. Take the information to pay off your debt quickly, and put yourself in a great financial position.

Jun 20

SEO and Legal Issues

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is basically the art (or should that be science) of trying to get your web site or blog ranking high in the search engines.  Unfortunately it is also one of the biggest causes of spam that exists on the internet.  As anyone who has run or owned a website or blogs knows, it won’t be long before you are bombarded with made up comments and posts containing lots of links back to various websites.  In many cases these sites will be adult or pharmacy related.  The reason for these is that the search engines value a link back to a specific website and will rank it more highly based on the number a site has.  In general these dubious web promotion tactics are dubbed – ’black hat SEO’.

But are ’black hat’ SEO practices actually illegal or just unprofessional.  In the majority of cases there are few legal issues involved in SEO practices whether good or bad.  It has been proven however in many courts that repeated spamming of a website could be classed as ’digital trespass’ in that these comments are being submitted without permission and can cause a web site damage or to run more slowly.  In fact if some damage can be proven then there is the possibility to sue under ’trespass to chattels’.  Unfortunately in the vast majority of cases these legal options are fairly pointless.  They are difficult to prove and the culprits could be from anywhere across the world and almost impossible to track down.

If you are trying to practice SEO for your own sites then it’s worth checking out responsible SEO sites  not only will you learn techniques that work but you’ll also be able to stay clear of the various black hat techniques.  There are tools which you can protect yourself when testing and evaluating methods – most SEO professional use tools which allow you to change you IP address online like this.

Google for instance has been targeting highly optimised sites in certain changes to their search algorithm, these are making black hat techniques not only ineffective but in many cases damaging to your website.  Although there are few legal issues to some of the more dubious SEO practices, in reality they are less likely to work.

The only safe places to use these techniques currently, and this may change in the future is on powerful authority sites like Squidoo and Youtube. You can promote these much more aggressively, boosting videos on YouTube

Jun 20

Privacy and Security Issues with Internet Surveillance

It’s pretty fair in saying that throughout the world the laws regarding technology and computers are pretty confused.  Even if you look at something like using computer based evidence in trials then we are increasingly finding situations where our current statutes simply don’t work in many circumstances.  In the United Kingdom this particular problem has been covered by something called the Computer Misuse Act 1990 which is probably one of the most comprehensive acts regarding technology.

The internet is of course a huge problem for Governments for a variety of reasons.  Most democratic nations wish to encourage free speech of course, yet they are also worried about how criminals and terrorists utlise technology to communicate and organise. This has led to a series of initiatives across the world designed to give security services more powers to monitor and track what everyone does online. Legally this causes huge problems with rights to privacy and personal freedom however it fails on another more simple level too.

For example in the UK they are implementing plans to allow certain organisations to access data on virtually all areas of electronic communication.  From web browsing, Social networking, emails to SMS message on mobile phones everything will be stored and available to the police and other approved departments.  The primary goal is to catch criminals and terorrists but of course they want to monitor everyone to achieve this.  Herein lies the flaw, the technology exists to opt out of this monitoring – if you take a look at security and technology websites like – www.anonymous-proxies.org  you’ll see loads of advice about software and techniques that allow you to hide your surfing and data.  Anyone who is really up to no good is going to utlise these systems and the result will be that the Government will be simply monitoring the innocent who have nothing to hide and the criminals who don’t know how to use this technology.

Losing our privacy seems a high price to pay for such an ineffectual monitoring system.  The risks to storing and utlising this much personal data are huge.

Jun 14

Wine Laws

Usually when we talk about wine it involves shipping laws from state to state and how those laws affect wine gifts delivered straight to your home or to a family member of friend.

Given those regulations it is surprising that when it comes to actually making wine, there really are not many rules at all.

To me, that is incredibly surprising on a few levels, but not the least because politiians and teetotalers tend to love to have control over alcohol.  It’s probably only a matter of time!

Jun 01

Pass Your Law School Exams with an iPhone App

When the Harvard Law School alumni came up with the idea of creating a comprehensive California bar exam review course called BarMax CA, skeptics scoffed at this concept saying that it would not work. However, years later, BarMax has become one of the most sought after and talked courses. It is also reported that BarMax has an overall pass rate of 71 percent as compared to its counterparts in CA. Provided you have your iphone, if not you can win an iphone here http://winfreeiphone.co.uk/, it is possible to pass your law school exams in an interesting and less strenuous way. The course is designed in such a way that it has over 50 hours of audio lectures from prominent Harvard Law School professors and it takes two months.

People that have used BarMax say that they are impressed with unlimited live phone support as well as email support. This means that in case you have any questions, concerns or problems, you can always contact the Harvard Law School alumni. It is also essential to mention that there are over 1000 MBE questions, over 100 practice essays and over 30 performance tests. All these services are being offered to ensure that you have the best experience during revision and that you ace the best scores possible.

If others have used this iphone app to make it in their law school exams, you are no exception. You need to take advantage of BarMax because it allows you an instant access to all the relevant course materials that you will need not only for your exams but also for your future practice and endeavors as a lawyer. In fact someone once said that you are holding your future in law in your iphone. The world is changing and if you do not adjust to it, you could become irrelevant.

Internet Licensing Laws – UK

Featured

The problem with many of our laws relating to licensing and copyrights, is that most of them were developed long before the introduction of the internet. Take for example the laws that govern the requirements of TV licences in the UK.    At the moment you can actually watch the lots of UK TV channels online without needing a TV license.  Now a few years ago that would have been unlikely to tempt many people from abandoning their TVs to computers.  But nowadays the line between TVs and computers is very blurred – we have internet enabled TV sets, super fast broadband and a myriad of devices able to store TV channels.

Suddenly the requirement of an expensive  TV license doesn’t seem so necessary.  Clearly there is confusion in the market and the BBC Trust is mooting changes to clarify the situation (and obviously force more to buy a license).   A BBC spokesman said –

Legislative change is likely to be required in order to reflect technology changes in the licence fee regulations,”

One of the biggest loopholes is the fact that if you don’t watch the shows live then you don’t need the license.  So presumably you could set your TV or media device to download or store the show and watch a few minutes later.  The license costs about £142 or about $250 so it’s a significant expense that can be avoided each year.

There are other confusions experienced across the planet.  Most media channels block access to their content outside their countries borders.  Hulu is only available in the US, M6 Replay only in France and the BBC technically in the United Kingdom.  Of course these restrictions are frequently bypassed online – there are loads of internet sites explaining how you can watch anything online.  This one for instance shows how to watch BBC Iplayer – http://www.proxyusa.com/bbciplayerabroad2012.   Are these methods illegal – well probably not with current legislation but of course there are lots of legislation pending in the US and across the world that might change this situation.

IN other countries the legislation is different of course, which is the huge problem for people attempting to regulate the internet.  Whether you need to access BBC Iplayer in the UK or ABC Iview, the problem is still the same – your IP address, wherever you are defines what you see.

There’s one thing for sure if you want to specialize in a fast developing and probably controversial area of law – the media might very well be for you.

Further Reading

May 13

Law Against Islamic Law in Kansas

Kansas State Congress voted by 120 to 0 and the State Senate by 33 to 3 to pass a law that prevents courts and government agencies from using Islamic or other ‘non-US laws’ in decision making. The bill is waiting for Republican Governor Sam Brownback to sign. He has made no indication so far whether the bill will become law.

The bill is termed as the ‘anti Sharia’ law. 20 other states in America are considering similar laws.

Although many of these proposed bill do not name Islam or Sharia directly this is the intended target of these laws.

While the bill might be a vote winner, there are several problems with such bills. Firstly, it is illogical to talk about 2 laws. There is only one law, and that is the law that is applied by the police and upheld by the courts. We don’t have a law that allows stoning of adulterous women and one law that forbids women being stoned for cheating on their husbands. It would be contradictory to do so.

There is sometimes a contradiction between state and federal law, but that is an issue of jurisprudence.

Secondly, there is a constitutional problem with the proposed Kansas law. The constitution gives people the freedom of speech and the freedom to pursue their religious beliefs. If Jewish people insist that their children must marry other Jews to continue the line of their religion then it is not a matter for the courts to rule upon. Muslims have similar rights in America.

Moreover, Islam has been in the USA since Malcolm X in the 1960s. It is hardly a non-US religion, just as Judaism is also not considered non-American.

The bill is a statement of bigotry and a stain on the state of Kansas.

May 02

Wine Laws to Know

US Laws are suppose to be simple, concise and easy for the average citizen to understand.

Try the shipping of wine and see what you think in regards to simplicity.  For wine clubs, this is a major issue.

First, states are allowed to make their own laws.  It’s been like that since Prohibition ended close to 100 years ago!

Some states allow wineries from out of state to ship directly to their citizens.  Others do not.

Some states allow out of state retailers to ship to their citizens.  Others do not.

Some states allow in state wineries to ship to their consumers.  Others do not.

Some states allow in state retailers to ship to consumers.  Others like Utah clearly hate wine and all alcohol and do not.

Other than states are allowed to do whatever they want, what’s simple to understand about these laws? Why are they so different from one state to another when there is a federal drinking age?

Apr 30

The problem of Greece’s growing debt burden

The debt crisis that has affected countries in Europe has been largely caused by their inability to pay debts that they have accrued over the years. Countries that have been unable to raise the amount of money needed to offset their debts have seen their economic growth affected to the point of asking for bail outs from friendly countries. The countries that have been worst hit by this crisis are Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Greece as well as Italy and are at a place whereby they can default on their payments which will affect their economies negatively.
Greece is one of the hardest hit by the debt crisis which has produced a lot of economic problems for the government and its citizens. Before the financial crisis in the United States which exposed fiscal policies that were unsustainable, the Greek government had not been spending money wisely and even ignored fiscal reforms and thus their economic growth was affected the most during the debt crisis. When the growth of the economy began to weaken as well as tax revenues, the budget deficits which are high became unsustainable.
The debt that has been accrued by Greece was larger than the economy of the country which posed a lot of problems for the country. Some of the problems facing Greece as its debt burden grows is the demand of higher yields by investors on the bonds made available by the country. The demands of higher yields result in raised costs which increase the debt burden, and can only be solved by the provision of poor credit loans by other European countries. Greece has been assisted twice by countries in the European Union so that they are able to pay their debts and finally solve their economic problems that has slowed down its progress.

Apr 22

Judiciary Power in Developing Countries

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the separation of powers is that the various independence and strength of each arm of the body politic – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary – varies from country to country. As mentioned in legal theory the judiciary is often considered to have too much power in America. As with the UK judges are able to interpret laws very much in a contrary way to the original intention of the legislatures who framed the law.

The reason for the strength of the UK and American judiciary is that judges do not feel threatened. They are revered by society and protected by the police. In Italy where judges have to deal with mafioso cases this is sometimes not the case. There is always a constant fear that the judge and witnesses will meet an untimely end in order to spoil the trial.

Part of the strength of a free and independent judiciary depends on a free press. Unless the press can report injustices, attacks on lawyers, bribery, corruption etc. then it is difficult for a judge to feel secure in his or her position. After all judges are able to decide if the president or prime minister is worthy of criminal prosecution. And if he or she is found guilty it is the judge that decides the punishment.

In Thailand it is noticeable that judges feel insecure. They tend to keep quiet during coups and never question the legality of constitutional amendments.

I once met a Thai judge in riverside hotel in Bangkok. He told me in confidence that the judiciary is far from independent.  The third estate is the army not the judiciary.

Apr 21

Legal Theory

Legal theory is concerned with the limits of judicial power. It asks such questions as how much leeway should judges be given to read new meanings into laws that were not intended when they were drafted by the legislature? How can judicial power be limited? Is it desirable to do so? How does the dynamic between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary work?

These are all vital theoretical questions concerning the law that all students of law need to think through. It is not a purely an ‘academic’ exercise. Rather these issues are at the heart of a healthy democracy.

It was the French Enlightenment political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu who first wrote about the idea of the separation of powers in the state. He was influenced by the British constitutional monarchy system and also the ancient Greek notion of preventing tyranny by separating out the 3 principle arms of the state – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. It from Montesquieu that the notion of ‘checks and balances’ that is part of the American Constitution comes from.

It is interesting to note that Montesquieu noted that:

“The independence of the judiciary has to be real and not apparent merely”.

Elsewhere he wrote:

“The judiciary was generally seen as the most important of powers, independent and unchecked”

In short Montesquieu realized the danger of the judiciary. It is a fear that is found today in American society. In the field of morality and the law the Supreme Court appears to hold all the aces. It was the case of Roe v. Wade in 1973 that resulted in a Judge deciding that a woman had the right of privacy under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that allowed her to have an abortion.

It is difficult to tell whether that was the wish of the majority of the people. Sovereignty lies with the people and they elect representatives to the legislature and executive to represent their opinions both morally and otherwise. Does a judge have the right to decide to change societal practice in such an extreme way?

Since that land mark decision every Republican President has used his executive powers to try and alter the judges presiding on the Supreme Court with the hope of over-ruling Roe v. Wade.

Why is it that the judges on the Supreme Court have life tenure? Why are they not elected representatives? Why do their decisions have the power to change laws dramatically in a society?

These are all questions that lawyers have to ponder. They must be servants of the law; and realize that have been given a massive responsibility. They must not abuse their considerable power. Rather the judiciary has to judge the feelings of the people to give the people the laws that make sense to them.

This is seen in the on-going struggle between state and federal law agencies and judiciaries regarding the issue of decriminalizing marijuana. It is something that the people want. It is the central executive and judiciary that are out of touch.

Apr 18

An Important Thing When Starting Law Studies

Starting out in Law can be a very daunting and laborious process. Spending a great many hours reading case studies and such in libraries and carrying about heavy books can prove to be a nightmare for students. Thankfully now with the growing popularity of laptop computers students can cut down on some of that weight and the hours spent writing has been cut down by easily typing.

It is obviously a very difficult industry to be a part of and even more difficult to get to a standard where you can be respected by your peers so study is a huge part of becoming as good as is possible. As I mentioned before a huge part of study now relies on computers and having a good, functioning laptop computer could be the difference between making it and not.

I know of one person who successfully studied law for a good many years and had the same laptop computer throughout the whole process, he swore by it. He told me the secret he had for keeping the same computer throughout his studies was that he looked for laptop repair Glasgow before he even had any issues with his computer and anytime he thought it wasn’t running up to speed or as well as he thought it could he got in contact. His favourite saying was ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ and he also lived by that saying in regards to his law studies. He felt that it was all good and well studying for a specific case but if he constantly studied previous case studies he would be prepared for anything that came his way and would be able to apply scenarios to the cases he was working on.

This is particularly useful in those fast changing areas of law such as those which affect the internet.  There are a myriad of issues which affect this area of law, for example often the people involved stretch across multiple borders.   The digital market place is a complicated area which involves numerous transactions including the use of fast proxies, VPNs and encryption to protect transactions online.

It turns out that his encyclopedic knowledge of law now sees him as one of the most sought after lawyers in the UK, and funnily enough he still has the same battered old laptop and refuses to buy a new one.

Mar 16

Growing Marketplace for Graduate Lawyers

The growing online marketplace has opened up an entirely new field of law practice in recent years- one which the younger generations of newly qualified lawyers are uniquely suited to deal with. The recent national outcry over SOPA and PIPA should demonstrate to the interested observer that this field is still subject to fundamental changes. Factional and economical concerns could still lead the US policymakers to push through game changing legislation at any stage. This means a fast evolving field of law practice and a growing need for well qualified individuals to guide and advise the vast marketplace.

Independent online entrepreneurs in particular need to be careful to dot their i’s and cross their t’s when it comes to the law. For example, a discount code provider website can run foul of their partners if publishing any promotional code comes into conflict with the terms of their affiliate agreement. A blogger must then choose whether to continue on in the affiliate capacity or publish the codes and generate income through alternate methods. Doing otherwise may result in an abrupt termination of the partnership and significant loss of income.

The digital world is certainly the biggest areas of expansion for many legal practices.  The digital marketplace is growing exponentially and as such is the need for a rigid and workable legal framework to conduct business.   One of the biggest problems in this area though is that many of these contracts are conducted across international borders and as such are potentially affected by more than one countries legislation.  For example if a US citizen buys a product over the internet from a company in Germany using a British VPN – there are potentially three countries involved all with extensive digital laws and regulations.

Mar 14

How To Befit From Business Intelligence Tools In A Law Firm

It is not easy when it comes to important law firm decisions and this should never be made instantly. Law firms to do some important techniques first before they do decision-making and an abundance of the right information in hand is required. They don’t just simply voice out any decision which is being finalized in just reading an information at once. Before making any decision, they have to make sure first that they have plenty of information before they come up into the final decision. With this fact, Business Intelligence Tooms in law firms is really important to make these important decisions. The right information for many law firm decisions means having a competitive intelligence. From the term competitive, it is needed in the law firms to have that full of information and precise details so that they can prove that they are really making the right decision. If you are not sure what types of Business Intelligence Tools you can get, you can find a full review of the various tools here at Business Intelligence Tools.

For decision-making, it is important for the law firms to have the right information acquired as this will help them for analyzing it. Business Intelligence Tools in law firms can be a big help in order for them to make their work and job done appropriately. Law firms needs to have more information gathered as they have to analyze it first and read information based on the problem that they are dealing with. So, business intelligence will probably their best way and technique not to experience difficulties on their decision-making. Business intelligence software is an important tool that will help law firms gather, analyze and manage information on the problem or issue that they are facing as it will assist them for the decision-making that they are going to finalize.

For all the information that can affect all of the law firm’s decisions, operations and plans is needed. And with the use of business intelligence, gathering and storing important information and data will be simple for law firms. It is important on law firms to gain sufficient market analysis such as entering into a merger or to gain a profitable client. The lawyers are giving many stock with competitive ideas and knowledge because the work market becomes more and more trendy and have an increased competition. We can expect to see a huge boost of the use of business intelligence tools in the various law firms that are around today.

Mar 13

Law Schools Dupe Kids With Allure Of Instant Riches

Recently there has been a lot of news centering on the shady practices many law schools are engaging in.  Many schools have been getting caught fabricating to students the amount of money they will be making directly after graduating from law school.  All of this so they can garner their expensive tuitions to enter into a prestigious law program.  But the problem is that many lawyers who graduate find that they are not going to make anywhere near what they thought upon graduation.

This is quite a shame on a few levels, for one students who want to practice law solely based on financial gain instead of the love for practicing law, and two the greed of the schools to prey upon these budding young scholars.   The NALP organization is one that allows for realistic expectations of what to expect once you graduate; in fact the organization is founded with the goal of making the transition from school to practicing law much smoother.  A bankruptcy lawyer I knew got into law because of the money he could make, and not long after found that running a credit card debt relief business was more suiting to him.  The only benefit his law degree has at this point is the power of the paper in which it was written, strictly to afford his company more prestige.  No longer does he truly practice law but only uses his name to strengthen people’s confidence in his ability.

The bottom line is that this guy like many others were duped into thinking their law degree would make them a lot of money, but in the end it was this man’s business skills that really had nothing to do with law that made him successful.

Mar 11

NALP and Wine

When I was asked to compare the training which the average lawyer receives with the training the average winemaker recieves, the difference was stark indeed.  I have two sons, one of which holds each job title.  One of my sons is an immigration attoryney here in California while the other makes wine for a wine of the month club as well as part time for a small winery. At it’s core, NALP was meant to help bridge the chasm between a lawyer’s education and his practical experience.  That is something the wine industry, amazingly seems to be doing a better job at promoting.

A winemaker receives training, largely through hands on working in the field.  While a few Universities have programs which train winemakers, the bulk of the training truly starts after graduation.  Of course, that education allows the average graduate to hit the ground running on their first day at a winery.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for attorneys.  Too many law schools these days are training good general attorney’s who can pass the bar.  Unfortunately, those same attorney’s leave law school with little practical experience.  That lack of experience can be partially made up with a quality summer internship, but the average law firm counts on spending at least six months training their new hires on how to file even rudimentary paperwork for their clients and other staff.

That’s something which needs to change for both graduates as well as for law firms alike.

Mar 09

Illegal Immigration a Matter of Law, Not Race or Politics

For many months, illegal immigration from Mexico has really flared up to become a hot topic of debate in this country. On the one hand, there is the extreme political left that seems to welcome illegals with open arms and touts that the United States is a country of immigrants and that if you disagree with their standpoint, you are racist. On the other hand, there is the extreme political right that would not seem to mind seeing every one of them thrown in jail and the key tossed in the trash. And of course, in the middle of these two hands lie a number of compromise solutions and probably the majority of Americans.

As for my viewpoint, I am outraged by those who attempt to justify the actions taken by those who enter the country illegally. If my ancestors from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and so on, attempted to enter the country illegally, they would have been deported without any doubt. Allowing people to enter the country illegally is an insult to all past and present immigrants that came here to live the American Dream legally. When I shared this statement with an African-American friend who graduated from Stritch not too long ago and who adheres to the extreme leftist ideology on this issue, I was told that I was being a racist. How is this racist? Is it because I just happen to be a male descending from Anglo-Saxon ancestry? Perhaps if my friend had said this, it would not be racist? I don’t know. That is a whole other debate. Personally, I think the sympathizers of the illegals try to make it a racial issue when they know that they are losing the argument.

In any case, this issue has nothing to do with race. Ideally, it should have nothing to do with petty politics either. I see the issue as only being a matter of law, which is separate from politics. This issue has everything to do with respect for our laws and for equal justice for everyone under those laws. It does not matter if a person came here illegally from Mexico, Ireland, Canada, or anywhere else in the world. The law is the law.

Speaking of laws, sympathizers of the illegals should consider this one question: “Would you like it if someone trespassed on your property and left it vandalized?” Many ranchers just beyond the U.S. side of the border have had their fences and other property damaged or destroyed because some sociopath doesn’t really give a damn about somebody else’s property & damage. Many report missing items as well. So, not only are they breaking the law by crossing illegally, but they are breaking countless other laws along the way dealing in such areas as trespassing, vandalism, larceny, and so on. Food for thought.

Mar 09

The “Legalized Drugs” Debate and Our Class System

My brother and I were once having a debate about the legalization of marijuana.  His argument was that it shouldn’t be legalized, because you have to draw a clear line of which drugs can and can’t be legalized and never betray that line, because it might end up being a slippery slope.

My argument was that it should be legalized, because it’s already on THIS (safer) side of the line, since alcohol is clearly much worse than marijuana.

My whole theory is that the way we look at drugs is basically backwards – or, failing that, a bit skewed.

Caffeine

It’s possible that as you’re reading this, you’re hopped up on caffeine from soda or coffee.  Caffeine is the best example of a drug with real side effects that is widely consumed because it’s mild enough to be socially acceptable. That said the acceptance leads to regular & frequent use by MANY MANY MANY.

Slow reaction time, more dopamine – caffeine is like a mild form of a madeup hybrid drug, Crackahol.  If I was listing those symptoms as symptoms of marijuana, would you feel justified in supporting its continued illegalization (assuming you already did)?  Probably.

3/4ths of Americans supposedly drink coffee regularly, and 9/10 consume caffeine somehow every day.  Social proof is so powerful that even though I can list facts and figures about why caffeine is a mind-altering drug and you probably won’t think twice about it over your next cup of coffee.

Even though caffeine is milder than hard drugs, it’s strong enough to make your Pituitary gland think there’s an emergency going on.  But moving on…

Look at Alcohol Objectively

Let’s consider the political ramifications of deciding which drugs should be legal or not.

There are some who would like to de-regulate all drugs (cough Ron Paul cough), and those who probably support bringing back Prohibition.

Given Aristotle’s principle that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, we have to assume there’s some line between total regulation and deregulation that would work the best.  But where is that line?

Start with alcohol.  Clearly, people want their booze.  Prohibition was so bad that it gave rise to some of the top criminals of the 20th Century.

Imagine if there was some other substance, say “Substance X,” that no one knew about, that had all of the same characteristics of alcohol and the same statistics (drunk driving fatalities, liver problems, etc.).  If people suddenly found out about this, would they be totally for alcohol, or would they want it heavily regulated, or even banned?

Think about it objectively, like an alien studying human civilization.  If you were an alien, you would see the humans consumed this Substance X in mass quantities.  It was available in a variety of forms, some of which are acceptable over lunch and dinner (call it “beer”).  In its concentrated forms, it had more powerful effects, where humans congregate at buildings built solely for the distribution of Substance X.  These buildings then become a sort of mating ground – the males fight psychologically and physically for dominance and the women pick and choose the best humans to mate with.

Excessive abuse of Substance X leads many humans to vomiting, next-day headaches and in some rare cases, even death.  Substance X severely inhibits driving capabilities, so humans drive huge machines totally impaired, leading to huge amounts of traffic fatalities.

Yet humans are totally hooked – one human government once tried to ban it, and entire crime syndicates rose, providing underground distribution of Substance X.  I think I don’t have to make it any more clear how drugged/doped up we people are every day, even on the milder drugs like caffeine and TV.  Not necessarily the worst thing in the world, but it helps to be aware of it.

Where to Draw the Line?

What’s better politically – to ban something like Substance X (alcohol), or to let the people have it because they’ll do it anyway?

If you want to ban it, that means you want the line drawn closer to home than most.  Maybe you think caffeine is causing major health problems for both kids and adults.  Maybe the government should more heavily regulate the foods you eat.  Maybe you should just turn commie.

If you’re like most and want it legal, then where do you the draw the line of its own legality?  Why can’t 17 year olds drink it, but 22 year olds can?  Why can’t you have drive through liquor stores?

If you’re like my brother and Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact, then you say “the line must be drawn HERE!  This far, no farther!”  Taking it farther only takes you down the slippery slope.

I generally agree with that, except that I think marijuana is already on the “safer” side of the line.  It could also be a great way to keep the working class sapped of their energy and unmotivated so that the elite, drug-free (thanks, D.A.R.E!) intellectuals are free to reign.  I’m joking.  Sort of.  Not really.

One thing we don’t talk about with drugs ARE the class issues.  The way I see it, we’re dividing up into three classes:  the ruling class (those with the most economic leverage and who don’t need to work for income), the thinking class (those who have jobs that don’t involve manual labor;  about half of us), and the working class (those who have jobs with manual labor).

There’s a clear pecking order.  The ruling class leverages their capital to get both other classes to do their work for them.  The thinking class still works, but can leverage their higher incomes to get others to do their manual labor.  The working class basically drinks a lot.

Think of most of the jobs you’ve had, and you’ll see that you fall into one of these categories.  It’s possible you really have a manual labor job even though you’re not installing someone’s pool or cleaning their toilet.

In the ruling class, you would be in favor of opiates, depressants, stimulants and other stuff they use to numb down the mentally “ill” and their manic depression symptoms, to control those who work in the factory.  Working at a gas station two summers during college (working class;  it doesn’t seem like manual labor but it is because there’s no thinking work really), I couldn’t tell you how many industrial workers would come in and buy alcohol, many on a daily basis.  Their lives involved making someone from the ruling class rich in their 9 to 5, and then going home and drinking so that it was an easier fact to accept.

So if you’re ruling class, you love alcohol.  You also love pot, because there’s no way the workers could rise up against you if all they’re thinking about is fourthmeal at Taco Bell.  You also love stimulants like caffeine because they keep your thinking class compatriots working and thinking hard.

Sometimes I think that the form of government I favor is generally just the most suited government for huge companies and tycoons like Andrew Carnegie to work in.  If I think that’s a good thing, then I’d want to be consistent with that idea.  In that case, I would have to be for legalized caffeine, alcohol, and marjiuana.

You might say, “wouldn’t legal cocaine help CEOs somehow too?”  My answer is:  “Doesn’t matter.”  Crackahol and any of the current legal drugs seem strong enough already.

Mar 09

Lawyers – Keeping Refrigerator Reviews Honest

Lawyers serve a valuable purpose in keeping people honest.  As consumers, imagine how hard it would be for us to buy products if we had no assurance that the manufacturers and retailer were truthful about what they sold – or if we had no means of legal recourse if a product were to cause us harm!

While some firms will always misrepresent their products, the fear of lawsuits helps keep the level of this activity in check.  Let’s take as an example refrigerators.  Picture a new model of refrigerator hitting the market – now imagine what an imaginative firm might say about it.

“This new refrigerator will keep food from rotting for months at a time.  If you eat food from this fridge you will stay and look young forever”

In years gone these snake oil salesmen like claims were common, but if someone wrote refrigerator reviews making claims like this now there would be trouble!  Assume for a minute that someone believed these claims and purchased the products based on them.

A few weeks later there is a tragic news story about a family dying of food poisoning after eating chicken left sitting in their refrigerator for 3 weeks.  They thought it was safe, because their refrigerator review literature said it was ok to do this.

Once word of this spread around Lawyers would come out of the wood work to assure justice was served for the families’ relatives.  They would file suit to claim damages for those left behind.  Of course, they would not do this out of the goodness of their heart – the Lawyers would be in it for a chunk of the settlement money – but nevertheless, if there was a solid case it would get pursued.

Fear of claims like this are what keep product manufacturers from being too outrageous in their claims – particularly if their mistruths could lead to personal injury of fatalities.

So while it is fashionable in some circles to have nothing good to say about lawyers, the profession does serve a valuable purpose that people sometimes overlook.

 

Mar 09

Sole Proprietorship or LLC?

When I first started to make money online years ago, it was mainly just a hobby. Like many others I wanted to see if I could do it and what the potential was. My job was going downhill and I though that perhaps I could supplement my income a bit online. Not much different than hundreds of people will do today, tomorrow, and every day after that.

However, I was one of the lucky ones that started to make more than pocket money. I soon realized that I was responsible for taxes on the money and figuring out how to better protect myself.

Any person who makes money in a home business is a sole proprietorship by default. Nothing has to be done and the person who is making the money is responsible for the taxes on their personal tax return. Seems easy enough and it is.

However, in this society where everyone sues everyone else for the silliest of things, I was concerned that I needed some protection. My website http://dayjobnuker.com and others were making a bit of money and I didn’t want want to be sued and lose some of my personal money because of some out of control lawyer.

Lawyers are needed but in recent years things have gotten out of hand. They take cases from just about anyone who sues for just about anything. I wanted to protect myself from something like that and thought that getting an LLC might be a good idea.

LLC’s are supposed to separate your personal assets from business assets in most cases thus reducing the risk of losing personal money if you get sued. But there are a lot of conflicting opinions about this as it seems this type of situation has not been thoroughly tested in the courts yet. No one knows for sure if they will really protect you.

Nevertheless, I do have my LLC now and have an “official” business even though I still go to work every morning just the same as I did every morning before the LLC. I hope I never have to find out whether the LLC really works!

Mar 08

The Lawyer Surplus

There used to be two professions that always garnered respect and admiration: medical professionals and lawyers. Granted, there is a subset of people who say that lawyers are nothing more than glorified ambulance chasers, however when someone tells you that they are in law school or that they have a JD it sounds very impressive.

The fact of the matter is that today there are way more lawyers than there are open positions for them. There is currently a lawyer surplus in the United States.The New York Times reported that, based on estimated job openings between 2010 and 2015 and the amount of people who passed the bar exam in 2009, there were only three areas that did not have more lawyers than vacancies for lawyers: DC, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

My good friend is experiencing this hardship first hand. She is extremely smart and always had an interest in law. About 10 years after getting her Bachelor’s Degree, she decided to go to law school. She was Valedictorian of her graduating class. When it came time to find work as a professional attorney, there was nothing in her area available (and she has no desire to relocate to any of the three places that do not currently have a lawyer surplus). She has been using the NALP (National Association for Law Placement) and while they are being as helpful as they can, nothing has panned out for her.

In the meantime, in order to earn a living, she has stumbled upon internet marketing (with my help). Her hobby is collecting lalaloopsy dolls and she decided to blog about her collection and her new purchases. She makes videos showing the new dolls, she keeps up with all the latest lalaloopsy news, and she is genuinely passionate about the product. After she showed me all the blogging she’s been doing, I taught her some ways to earn money through advertisements on her site. Now she is actually starting to see a decent income from all of her blogging. So much so that she is rethinking becoming a lawyer at all!