Public vs. Private Interest Law – a Matter of Money?

Public vs. Private Interest Law – a Matter of Money?

ambivalent imbroglio comments in depth on a posting by Jeremy Blachman about not going to work for a large law firm, discussing therein the demands on time made by large law firms and the monetary differences between jobs in public and private interest law.

amibivalent imbroglio writes in his posting “Public Interest Law: It’s Not About You“:

“And a good way to see the difference is to stop asking what a particular job can do for you, and ask instead what a job could allow you to do for other people. That makes the differences more clear for me, anyway.”

To which the LawPundit would add three rhetorical questions:

Is it not a fact – by definition – that the MORE we are paid, the MORE we are doing for others?

Is it not a fact that the MORE we do “our own thing”, the less we are generally paid?

Do not some idealistically inspired people (doing their own thing “100%”) even work for nothing? (Bloggers come to mind).

There is a common misconception that people who get paid well are working MORE for themselves and those who get paid LESS are working more for the community. But this is simply not true. Generally, the reverse applies.

There is a general wisdom about getting rich: “Go out and observe your fellow men and then give them what they want or need and you will be wealthy”. And also this is true.

He who follows his “own” path will generally not be rewarded for it by others, unless somewhere down the road other people observe that the selfishly chosen path also provides THEM with a benefit, e.g. iconoclastic inventors, pioneering entrepeneurs, the rare genius, etc.

Some artists, for example, become rich and famous in the course of their careers for doing their thing (very seldom), but most are starving, whereas “commercial artists” make a good living. Indeed, many of the great masters painted portraits of the rich and the famous – for cash – during their lifetime.

The trouble with work for large law firms is that one has to GIVE a lot to GET a lot. That is all.

That’s life.

Marshall Plan Fund in Danger under German Chancellor Schroeder

Marshall Plan Fund in Danger under German Chancellor Schroeder


A Sun News post of October 17, 2004, contains the article, Marshall Plan dollars still at work in Europe: Businesses benefit in Germany, by Tom Hundley of the Chicago Tribune (registration required). More below.

The Marshall Plan monies are covered from a different perspective at the June 26, 2004 Guardian article under the title “Democratic Deficit” in which it was reported that:

“Nearly 60 years after the Marshall plan was launched to reconstruct Europe after the second world war, its funds are still bailing out the Germany economy. Hans Eichel, the German finance minister, wants to use €12bn left over from the Marshall plan to stealthily privatise his government’s stakes in Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post, to allow the government’s public sector development bank to buy its shares.”

Thankfully this plan at that time failed – it was just another of the wild plans of the incapable Schroeder administration. See in this regard the Law Pundit postings here and here.

The Current Problem

As the Guardian writes:

“For the past decade – with the exception of 2000 – the German economy has spluttered rather like a misfiring Volkswagen, during a long period of sluggish growth that reached its nadir with a mild recession in 2003. The government has seen its attempts to maintain fiscal rectitude fall victim to over-optimistic forecasts, leading to a string of deficits. While combined federal, state and local tax revenues have been static, government spending has ballooned, resulting in a €79bn deficit last year – the third time in the past three years that Germany’s shortfall has breached the 3% of GDP limit set by the eurozone’s stability pact.”

The issue of the Marshall Plan Fund has again surfaced, as found in a Welt am Sonntag, November 21, 2004, article reporting that German Finance Minister Hans Eichel now wants to appropriate the current “Marshall Plan Resource Fund” (in German known as “Marshall-plan-Mittel” or ERP-Sondervermögen) in order to keep the federal deficit from exceeding 3%.

Apparently the Schroeder administration has not considered using the Marshall Fund for the purpose for which it was intended, i.e. to get the economy moving by loaning the money out.

Based on the above events, there appear to be no bounds to the apparently desperate financial perfidies of the Schroeder administration.

Of course, there is method in this madness. The coming generations of voters – indeed, probably most of the voters who put Schroeder into office – generally have no better than passing knowledge or understanding of the role that the United States played in bringing freedom to Europe and in reconstructing post-War Germany after WWII. Rather, the anti-American views of the uninformed are those views which Schroeder and his administration nurture and use to stay in political office based on the ephemeral events of today.

People who still recall the Marshall Plan, support US efforts to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East. The young, softened and spoiled generations, who have little clue as to source of their freedom – also won by deposing tyrants – generally oppose the USA efforts in Iraq, apparently much to the delight of Schroeder and Co.

History of the Marshall Plan

After WW II, the United States assisted the reconstruction of shattered European economies through the “Marshall Plan”, named after then Secretary of State George Marshall who introduced the plan at a June 5, 1947 speech at Harvard University.

Under President Truman and the Marshall Plan (the European Recovery Program – ERP), the United States provided $13.3 billion (about $90 billion in today’s dollars) in economic aid to 16 European nations, most going to Britain, France and Italy with Germany as the 4th-largest recipient obtaining about $1.39 billion (about $9.4 billion in today’s dollars).

On December 15, 1949, the Marshall Plan monies in Germany were transformed into so-called “special fund” (ERP-Sondervermögen) also known as the Marshall Plan Resources Fund – monies which are specifically independent of normal German government budgetary assets, as written by the International Monetary Fund (IMF – p. 15 of that .pdf-source):

“The mechanisms for the coordination and management of budgeted and extrabudgetary activities are well defined…. The only exception is the Marshal [sic] Plan Resources Fund (ERP-Sondervermögen), whose budget is approved separately by the parliament, including an entitlement for debt.”

These monies are intended to be used to as loans to finance revolving credits for business and industry:

“‘We’re not allowed to spend this money, only to lend it. That’s the whole trick,’ said Hermann Faas, director of small business financing for the ERP.

Since its inception, the ERP has made about $150 billion worth of loans to German businesses. In the ERP’s offices, there are no U.S. flags, no bronze busts of Gen. Marshall, but according to Faas, the United States still gets credit for its postwar magnanimity.”

In any case, it is noted that:

“The Marshall Plan is revered as the wisest and most successful foreign policy initiative undertaken by any U.S. administration”.

It would seem to clearly define the dishonest nature of the Schroeder administration that the Marshall Plan monies are now up for grabs as a despicable monetary trick to help keep this incapable administration in political power.

As a matter of law, there is an interesting question as to whether US approval would be required for this kind of an extra-appropriation of the ERP monies. As reported in Welt am Sonntag:

“Das Wirtschaftsministerium ist strikt gegen das Vorhaben…. Auch sehen die Experten seines Hauses völkerrechtliche Schwierigkeiten. Bei dem Vorhaben hätten die USA ein Mitspracherecht. “

The Law Pundit translation of the above is as follows:

“The Ministry of Economics and Labor is strictly against this proposed plan…. In-house experts envision international law problems. The USA would have a right to a say in the proposed plan.”

The World’s Highest Bridge – In France

The World’s Highest Bridge – In France

Towering over the Eiffel Tower? – not quite, but nearly

Clive Davis points in his posting “A NEW BRIDGE TO THE 21ST CENTURY?” to a remarkable French architectural and engineering achievement.

Wayback Machine’s Internet Archive Admissible as Evidence

Wayback Machine’s Internet Archive Admissible as Evidence

Via The Speculist we are directed to the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society (CIS) and their cyberlaw newsletter Packets Vol. 2, No. 3 containing the topic “Internet Archive’s Web Page Snapshots Held Admissible as Evidence“.

As written at CIS about the case Telewizja Polska USA, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 2004 WL 2367740 (N.D.Ill. Oct. 15, 2004):

“In a pretrial evidentiary ruling, a magistrate judge [Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys] in the Northern District of Illinois held that “snapshots” taken by the Internet Archive that depict web pages as they appeared in the past are admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The court rejected the arguments of plaintiff Telewizja Polska USA that the archived pages constituted hearsay and that the Internet Archive was an “unreliable source.””

The Wayback Machine is described in the Stanford newsletter as follows:

“The Internet Archive (IA) is a non-profit effort to preserve Internet sites and other digital media and make them available online. IA’s spiders regularly crawl the World Wide Web, making copies of web pages and storing them permanently in an enormous digital archive. Using the “Wayback Machine”, one of the Archive’s popular services, users can input the address of a web page and call up a series of dated copies, allowing them to see what the page contained at the times it was accessed by the IA spider.”

There are currently 30 billion pages archived from 1996 onward.

Roland Collection of Videos & Films on Art

Roland Collection of Videos & Films on Art

We ran across this website by chance.

The Roland Collection of Videos & Films on Art is a tremendous “pay to buy” collection of art films and art videos – all titles are available for sale – but the site also offers free viewing of 450 complete films on-line. Available by art period are:

Early Cultures

First Civilisations


Pre-Columbian America

Romanesque and Gothic

Renaissance and Mannerism

Northern Renaissance


Baroque and Rococo

Neo-classicists and Romantics

The Victorians

Impressionists and Post Impressionists

Art Nouveau


Cubism and Futurism

Into Abstraction

The Bauhaus and De Stijl

Dada and Surrealism

Modern Masters

Modern and Contemporary Sculptors

Contemporary Painters

New Directions – New Dimensions

Modern Architecture and Design

Unfortunately, surely in order to urge the viewer to buy the original quality video or film, online quality is only top at “100%” – a very small screen size (though the films and videos are also viewable at e.g. 300% or larger screen size). Pull the right lower edge of the RealPlayer display to play with size.

Still, it is terrific stuff, e.g. take a look at Tassili N’Ajjer – Prehistoric Rock Paintings of the Sahara.

Media Law at the Guardian

Media Law at the Guardian is the Guardian’s media news site, including its Media Law site (free registration required). For example, a recent November 1, 2004 article there by Charles Boundy, group legal director of Random House and partner at Fladgate Fielder, writes about the actual publishers’ problem of publishing photos (e.g. of celebrities or politicians) which include children. The article is entitled “The age of enlightenment: When is a child responsible enough to agree to their photo being taken?“. Boundy presents an important legal issue in the modern internet age, at a time when photography albums of all kinds are being posted to the internet.

What about the related issue of privacy law? As written by Ciar Byrne in “Government rejects call for privacy law“:

The right to a private life is enshrined in article eight of the Human Rights Act. However, separate privacy legislation does not currently exist in English law.

Another example of a law article at the Guardian’s Media Law is the October 11, 2004 “No hiding place for pirates” by Andrew Hobson, head of IP (intellectual property) at the law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, who discusses how “the British music industry is to clamp down on illegal file swappers” and what “legal routes … could be pursued”.

Motors banned on the Ridgeway prehistoric road during Winter

Motors banned on the Ridgeway prehistoric road during Winter

Bravo. Who says there is no good news on the news.

One of the amazing things about humanity is that the supply of Yahoos (in the Jonathan Swift sense) is endless. The story below is once again evidence for the necessity of laws. Here – as is usually the case – voluntary codes simply do not work because there are always people who do not abide by them.

The BBC carries a November 12, 2004 article reporting that:

“Motorbikes and 4×4 vehicles which were damaging one of Britain’s oldest roads have been banned from the [Ridgeway by a] … temporary order … imposed by a number of district councils on parts of the Ridgeway National Trail in south Oxfordshire during winter months.

In previous years the 6,000-year-old trail has been churned up by trail bikers and off-road drivers. The ancient chalk ridge route, used by prehistoric man, runs across the Chilterns and the Wessex Downs.

This ban is excellent news for all walkers, horse riders and cyclists who wish to enjoy the Ridgeway in peace.

A council spokeswoman said: ‘We have undertaken extensive surface repairs and drainage improvements on the trail over the last two years. I am pleased to say that the condition of the Ridgeway is improving. However, we need to protect the most vulnerable sections from unacceptable levels of damage over the winter.’

Ian Ritchie, chairman of the Friends Of The Ridgeway, said: ‘A voluntary code of respect has been in operation on the Ridgeway for 10 years but has plainly not been working. This ban is excellent news for all walkers, horse riders and cyclists who wish to enjoy the Ridgeway in peace, free from the ruts and mud that make the trail hazardous and unpleasant.’ “

This is also the kind of legal sanction that needs to be imposed in many other places and countries where ancient sites are being destroyed by ignorants. Nazca in Peru is another example where joyriders are ruining the ancient Nazca lines and figures. (For more information on Nazca, see