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Comment: Re:I like... (Score 1) 614

by nbauman (#47802175) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The reason they have race riots, all over this country, is that people go through the whole process of polite complaints and peaceful demonstrations, and get nowhere.

Polite complaints, peaceful demonstrations, and rioting is what you do in order to get handouts from a king or slave owner. We live in a democracy, and in a democracy, all those actions are meaningless. What matters in a democracy is voting, running for office, and convicing your fellow citizens.

They riot because they found out that riots are the only thing that works. When they burn down the town, the white establishment finally pays attention.

Oh, rioting certainly works for the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world: it furnishes them with money and power. For the people of Ferguson, it just means poverty and marginalization.

If the people of Ferguson don't like their "white establishment", they can vote them out every couple of years. But apparently, they have been satisfied enough with their white establishment that they didn't bother to do so.

That's what they teach in high school civics classes. I can see that you have never actually tried that out with an unpopular cause in the real world.

I can also see that your high school didn't teach you about the civil rights movement in the South during the 1960s. When black people tried to vote, they were turned away, and if they made too much trouble, they were killed. Southern racists had many clever ways of disqualifying blacks from voting, such as "Literacy tests," which they could claim were fair. If you're not literate, you can't vote, right?

Now the racists have other ways of preventing black people from voting, such as requiring photo ID cards (where in the original text of the Constitution does it say that you have to show a photo ID to vote?), gerrymandered districts, and excluding people convicted of committing a crime, all of which sound reasonable until you look at the facts.

Ferguson does have a low black voting rate, but that's because the white establishment uses these techniques to prevent them from voting.

The fairy tale about the civil rights movement that we recite on Martin Luther King's birthday is that it was a nonviolent movement and they just marched and protested and registered voters until they finally won America over.

The truth, as described for example in Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States, is that JFK just wanted the demonstrators to go away, after he gave them some token concessions. Zinn quotes the memoirs of Ted Sorenson, who was standing next to Kennedy during the civil rights demonstrations in Washington and during Kennedy's decisions on what to do about civil rights. It turns out that Malcom X was right. It turns out that JFK sided with MLK and the peaceful, nonviolent demonstrators, because Malcom X and the Black Panthers were getting popular and telling black people to get guns.

And, if J. Edgar Hoover and the investigators of the Mississippi Un-American Activities Committee can be believed, another group that was contributed to the success of the civil rights movement was the Communist Party, who you probably dislike even more than Sharpton and Jackson. According to Sorenson, Kennedy was worried that the Communists were using the civil rights movement to embarass America among the black people in the world, and the Communists, along with Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, drove Kennedy to action.

If you followed the history of the civil rights movement year by year, you'd see that politicians like JFK, and especially local politicians, were ignoring them, obstructing them, not letting them vote, and sometimes killing them. Progress usually came in response to riots. When black people started getting guns, the white establishment went frantic. As Huey Newton said, "Political power comes from the barrel of a gun."

I think you should take a black studies course. And read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

Comment: Re:Definition of "bad actor" (Score 1) 149

by nbauman (#47795531) Attached to: Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

I'm not going to run my career based on the advice of a free-market ideologue, who doesn't even know what I do.

The conservatives don't care about principles or logic. If they can pack the Supreme Court, and legislate from the bench, they'll do it. If they can contract with their employees for retirement income, and break the contract, they'll do it.

We can't reason with these people. The only thing they understand is power. All we can do is organize to get the votes to make a better society. In New York City we've got the votes, at least to accomplish some things, such as affordable housing for as many people as we can. If we could throw out the conservatives, we could have housing for everybody.

I was living in a city where, when people couldn't afford housing, they threw them out on the streets to die. We organized, went to court and stopped it. http://www.coalitionforthehome... (I worked on that lawsuit.)

I don't want to live in a world where, when people get sick, and can't afford to pay for health care, the hospitals throw them out in the street to die. We don't do that in New York City.

In the low-cost places to live around the country, they throw the poor out in the street to die. I don't want to live in that world. And I don't think they're good for business either.

Comment: Re:I like... (Score 2) 614

by nbauman (#47779051) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

"Ferguson was a town in which most of the population was black...One of the main sources of income for the town was stopping black motorists and giving them traffic tickets"

Statistically speaking, it stands to reason that if a population is majority black the majority of ticketed individuals would be black. Unless you have evidence that blacks were routinely given higher fines for similar offenses committed by white people or that no whites were ever ticketed in Ferguson, your statement is a bit of a reach.

There are many news stories like this:
In Ferguson, Court Fines And Fees Fuel Anger
August 25, 2014 5:56 PM ET

To understand some of the distrust of police that has fueled protests in Ferguson, Mo., consider this: In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson — a city of 21,135 people — for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations.

A new report released the week after 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson helps explain why. ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-area public defender group, says in its that more than half the courts in St. Louis County engage in the "illegal and harmful practices" of charging high court fines and fees on nonviolent offenses like traffic violations — and then arresting people when they don't pay. The report singles out courts in three communities, including Ferguson.

Thomas Harvey, who started the organization to provide legal services to the poor in the St. Louis region and is the lead author of the report, says residents, especially in Ferguson, have come to see the use of fines and fees as a way for courts to collect money from residents who are often the least able to pay.

"Folks have the impression that this is a form of low-level harassment that isn't about public safety. It's about money," he says.

The ArchCity Defenders report argues that this resentment is justified. Last year, Ferguson collected $2.6 million in court fines and fees. It was the city's second-biggest source of income of the $20 million it collected in revenues.

People who can't pay their fines and fees go on payment plans. But then there are extra fees, sometimes interest — 12 percent on felonies in Washington state — and, if poor people fall behind on payments, they may go to jail. Courts often ignore laws, Supreme Court rulings and protections that outlaw the equivalent of debtors prisons.

Just like around the U.S., these municipal court fines in Ferguson are for low-level offenses, usually traffic violations. Harvey calls these "poverty crimes." Typically, he says, someone gets stopped for a rolling stop at a stop sign, or for a broken tail light. Then police find other problems.

Racial Disparity In Ferguson Traffic Stops

Data from the Missouri state attorney general's office show that black drivers are stopped in Ferguson in disproportionate numbers, even though Ferguson police are more likely to find contraband when they stop white drivers.

Blacks make up 67 percent of the city's population, but are 86 percent of motorists stopped by police. Whites make up 29 percent of the population, but 12.7 percent of vehicle stops.

"However, this data seems at odds with the fact that searches of black individuals result in discovery of contraband only 21.7 percent of the time, while similar searches of whites produce contraband 34 percent of the time," the ArchCity Defenders report notes.

Ebony says she's been arrested before after she didn't pay off all her fines — the last time just two weeks after she had given birth.

"My son was 2 weeks old and I was under doctor's care, and Ferguson still locked me up and left me in jail for a week — over traffic tickets," she says. "Even when my lawyer was calling and saying that I'm under doctor's care, I just had a baby, and they still didn't care."

Police and city officials in Ferguson didn't respond to our requests for an interview.

Comment: Re:Definition of "bad actor" (Score 1) 149

by nbauman (#47774001) Attached to: Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

First, I have to live in New York City.

No, you don't. I don't care what your career is; there are plenty of other places to do it. For example, "artísts" of the type you describe do extremely well in Las Vegas, which is a MUCH cheaper place to live.

You're suggesting that I live in a state where it is illegal for a mathematician to go into a casino and win a lot of money, by following all the rules of the game, if he's too good at it? No thanks.

Comment: Re:I like... (Score 1) 614

by nbauman (#47771333) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Nor would it change the fact that people would still bring (founded and unfounded) lawsuits against the police.

Please don't give me that bullshit about "lawsuits against the police." The Republican Supreme Court with its legislation from the bench has made it impossible to sue the police.
How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops
AUG. 26, 2014
(Summary: Even if a federal investigation shows that Darren Wilson acted improperly in killing MIchael Brown, the Supreme Court has made it difficult, and often impossible, to hold officers and governments accountable for civil rights violation. In Plumhoff v. Rickard, the court found that it was not "excessive force" to fire 15 shots into a car, killing the driver and passenger, after a chase that reached speeds of >100mph. Alito ruled that the driver's conduct posed a "grave public safety risk," and that the police were justified in shooting the car to stop it, and that it “stands to reason that, if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended.” This is true of any high-speed chase. In Connick v. Thompson (2011), John Thompson spent 14 years on death row because the New Orleans assistant district attorney didn't tell the defense that a crime lab said the perpetrator had a blood type that didn't match Thompson. Thompson sued the City of New Orleans, and was awarded $14 million. But the Court reversed 5-4, with Thomas writing that New Orleans couldn't be held liable because the plaintiff didn't prove that its own policies violated the Constitution. The Court also said that law enforcement officials "absolute immunity" to civil suits, even when they commit perjury or misconduct.)

Comment: Re:I like... (Score 5, Insightful) 614

by nbauman (#47771277) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The shooting in Ferguson was used as an excuse to riot.

Look at the story, every 'witness' says he was shot in the back running away ... until the autopsy shows that NONE of the wounds were in his back. From the start every witness account was bullshit.

No. "Every" witness didn't say that. Lawyers who regularly investigate situations like this say that when you have a lot of witnesses, you get different accounts. When every witness gives the same story, they assume that the witnesses got together and made up a story together -- which cops often do.

Ferguson was a town in which most of the population was black, the cops were white, the district attorney was white, and most of the politicians were white. One of the main sources of income for the town was stopping black motorists and giving them traffic tickets.

There were many incidents of brutality by white cops against black people, and this was only the last straw. Most of the demonstrators were peaceful.

And oh yeah. The residents made a memorial for Michael Brown, his mother laid flowers on the spot that he was killed -- and one of the cops brought a police dog to urinate on it.
Michael Brown's Mom Laid Flowers Where He Was Shot—and Police Crushed Them

As darkness fell on Canfield Drive on August 9, a makeshift memorial sprang up in the middle of the street where Michael Brown's body had been sprawled in plain view for more than four hours. Flowers and candles were scattered over the bloodstains on the pavement. Someone had affixed a stuffed animal to a streetlight pole a few yards away. Neighborhood residents and others were gathering, many of them upset and angry.

Soon, police vehicles reappeared, including from the St. Louis County Police Department, which had taken control of the investigation. Several officers emerged with dogs. What happened next, according to several sources, was emblematic of what has inflamed the city of Ferguson, Missouri, ever since the unarmed 18-year-old was gunned down: An officer on the street let the dog he was controlling urinate on the memorial site.

Suppose some cop brought his police dog to piss on your mother's grave. Would you get mad?

The reason they have race riots, all over this country, is that people go through the whole process of polite complaints and peaceful demonstrations, and get nowhere. They're routinely getting killed and the cops routinely get away with it. And then the cops stop them in the street and humiliate them, like they did here when they knew they were the center of attention with cameras around. What do you suppose they're doing when there aren't any reporters around?

They riot because they found out that riots are the only thing that works. When they burn down the town, the white establishment finally pays attention.

I doubt that you would pay attention otherwise.

Comment: Re:Definition of "bad actor" (Score 1) 149

by nbauman (#47765179) Attached to: Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

You are making assumptions that seem obvious to you, but don't seem obvious to me, and in fact I disagree with them. And many people in New York City disagree with them.

First, I have to live in New York City.

In my (rent-subsidized) building, I live with artists, writers, musicians, theater people. Most of us are moderately successful, and we could never have careers like this outside of New York City. There is something called the "chance meeting at Zabar's effect." For example, I just heard about a professional society meeting yesterday, went there, and exchanged business cards.

Somebody in my family offered me a cheap condo in Florida, but I couldn't make connections like that in Florida.

People in the New York City economic development department told me that they realize that the creative industries are an important part of the City's economy, and they want to do what they can to provide its needs -- and that includes housing for the people who work in it.

For example -- when the producer of Law & Order needed an actor to play a judge, he could choose from ten people in my building alone.

For example -- the manager of a big photography studio told me that they couldn't work anyplace else but New York City, because this is the only place they could find the diversity of models they need. Sears needs a black family for a catalog shot? What kind -- Haitian, Nigerian or American?

(BTW a lot of public housing was built in New York City during World War II. There were shipyards in Brooklyn, and they needed housing for the shipyard workers. Sometimes the free market doesn't respond in time.)

Second, we (us voters) have a sense of ownership.

This is our City. Why should we leave? We've welcomed other people. Why should trust fund brats0 and hedge fund operators kick us out? How would you feel if somebody who was richer than you decided he wanted your house, and kicked you out under eminent domain? That's how we feel.

The rent control laws in New York City are easier to understand if you think of them as giving a property interest to renters. I worked for a corporation, and I got salary and corporate stock. I give my landlord a check, and it pays for the rent and certain property rights in my apartment. Governments have a right to regulate contracts, and that's the way we did it.

But that's Communism, you say. Well, you're right. The most effective tenants' organizations are unapologetic Communists They knew how to organize tenants, and how to get what they want from landlords and politicians. And it worked. For 100 years, we've had public housing. It was good, affordable housing. It was competitive with private housing. Communism worked.

Even the Wall Street Journal wrote favorable stories about New York City public housing.

Even Republican businessmen saw the need to have affordable housing for their employees. I've even heard Republicans say, "I'm doing well and I want my employees to do well too."

Of course, you can destroy a well-functioning enterprise, government or private, by cutting the budget sufficiently, which is what the Republicans in Congress are doing today. You can also destroy public housing by turning it in to welfare housing.

So when people say, "Let the free market rule, and whatever happens is good (by definition)," that sounds to me like the story of the efficiency engineer who went to hear a symphony orchestra. A voting majority of us in New York City don't want the free market to rule efficiently, since that would make the City unlivable for us (and for the creative businesses that depend on us). To us, that's not efficient. We want the City to provide housing, education, jobs and businesses for us, just the way we've always had it. It's our city. We should be able to do what we want with it. We're a democracy. It's worked.

Don't worry about the real estate developers. Believe me, Donald Trump will get by OK.

Comment: Re:The Butler case (Score 2) 92

by nbauman (#47759563) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

I was giving an example of someone who hadn't committed a crime, but talked to the FBI without a lawyer present, and as a result was convicted of a crime. He was tricked into confessing a crime, and possibly even tricked into committing a crime.

I read about it in Science, and some of the other publications that were following the case. I know that Peter Agre and several scientific societies investigated it and concluded that Butler hadn't committed a crime. They convinced me.

I also wasn't convinced that he lied -- that he knowingly told the FBI something false. He may have thought at first that they were stolen, or that they were possibly stolen. After talking it over with the FBI, they may have convinced him to change his mind and decide that they weren't stolen, and that he must have destroyed them. That's what it sounded like to me.

There was no underlying crime, and there was no crime at all until the FBI created one. So that's another reason for not talking to the cops without a lawyer: even if you're innocent when you start talking to them, they may trick you into committing a crime in talking to them.

The case was also complicated by a civil litigation that Butler was having with the university at the same time. The university didn't defend him, but instead elevated their civil case into criminal charges, and merged that into the FBI charges.

If there wasn't any recording of the conversations, then we'll never know with certainty what Butler and the FBI said. Lawyers who deal with false convictions, like The Innocence Project, say that all criminal interrogations should be recorded.

At any rate, I was arguing that you should never talk to the cops without a lawyer present (if at all). I think this proves my case.

The parent said, "So what's the problem?" That's the problem.

Comment: Re:Like buying from a car thief (Score 1) 92

by nbauman (#47756743) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

For those who don't want to click on the link, it describes a situation wherea man was prosecuted for lying to the FBI, after he caused a major alert by pretending some vials of plague bacteria had been stolen that, in fact, he'd accidentally destroyed.

I'm kind of wondering if that's the example the parent poster actually planned to use, or if he cut and pasted the wrong link. I'd have thought Bulter would have been aware of the consequences of pretending someone had stolen such a thing, that it would result in a major investigation, with a lot of resources wasted.

This is a good example of how someone can take a statement, as the cops do, and misinterpret it. This story was covered in Science, Nature, and most of the science magazines, by people who actually understood how bacteriology labs worked. Peter Agre, the Nobel laureate, investigated the case, decided Butler was railroaded and innocent, and spent his Nobel prize on Butler's defense. A lot of scientists and professional associations supported Butler because they worked in labs and they thought that Butler was doing what they did -- following the best procedures -- and the FBI was misinterpreting it and calling it a crime.

The problem was that Butler couldn't account for 30 vials of plague in his inventory, which is something that happens in laboratories. Even Robert Gallow mixed up his AIDS virus samples. Labs don't have infinite money to track inventory and documents. Even the FBI loses documents. Plague bacteria wasn't all that dangerous. Butler was one of the world's leading experts on plague, and he knew how dangerous it was and how to handle it better than anybody else, including the FBI. The problem was paperwork, back in those pre-computer days. The vials were almost certainly destroyed, but he couldn't document it.

The FBI led him into making a statement that he signed, without realizing the significance of it. He thought he might have made a mistake in his first account, so he reversed himself and agreed to do it their way. He thought he was doing the right thing, and he was trying to be cooperative. (Which is what the lawyers warn you about.) This is the way cops manipulate people into false confessions.

As the NYT story says:

Dr. Butler said that the F.B.I. tricked him into a confession so the agency could close the case.

''I feel I was naive to have trusted them,'' Dr. Butler said in the interview,

He caused a "major alert" because the FBI saw, OMG plague! and some pig saw an opportunity to make a career for himself by prosecuting the first bioterrorism case -- without understanding what it was all about, according to the scientists who actually work on plague and other pathogens. They used stupid terrorism laws which had just been passed by congressmen who didn't understand what it was all about either.

Then they offered him a deal by which he would plead guilty and serve a 6-month sentence. Butler wouldn't take it, because he (and his supporters, who were most of the top infectious disease researchers in the country) didn't believe he was guilty. He went to trial, was convicted, and served 2 years. There have been lots of innocent people who were convicted by prosecutors and juries who didn't understand scientific evidence.

Don't believe me. When the friendly cops come to your door, and pal around with you, and ask you to help them out by answering a few questions, go ahead. Shoot your mouth off. They won't be so friendly any more after they put on the handcuffs and tell you you're under arrest.

Comment: Re:Like buying from a car thief (Score 5, Insightful) 92

by nbauman (#47755821) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

If the police catches a car thief, they will likely visit anyone buying a car from him. They can't know that you bought his car that he purchased before he started his thieving career, or the car which he purchased himself with money he made from thieving (which would then be legally yours, unlike a stolen car that you bought off the thief), until they ask you.

That's the purpose of interviewing that man - to figure out if he had anything to do with illegal activities or not. Apparently he didn't. So what's the problem?

The problem is that very often someone who thinks he is (or is) completely innocent will talk to the cops, and as a result the cops decide he's committed a crime, prosecute him, and he goes to jail. Here's an example of the scientist Thomas Butler.

Notice that the cops can lie to you, but if you lie to them, you're committing a crime (and a lot of people went to jail for lying to cops, including the roommates of the Boston bomber).

On Youtube there's a lecture by a law professor about why you should never talk to the cops without a lawyer present, even if you're innocent (and certainly not if you're guilty). He gave many scenarios, based on real cases, about how that has gotten people convicted of crimes, even falsely.

For example, suppose you go to Pigtown, buy a bottle of milk in the grocery store, and go home. Somebody gets shot around that time in Pigtown. The cops ask you whether you were in Pigtown that day. You say yes.

Then the cops show your picture to Mary Misidentification, who honestly but wrongly thinks that she saw you shoot the guy. You go to court. The cops use your admission to prove that you were in Pigtown that day. They use Mary's testimony that she saw you shoot the guy. Put those together and they send you to jail.

In the Bitcoin case, you may have done something that you think was legal, but was actually a crime. (Or something that they could interpret as a crime.) If you kept your mouth shut, the FBI wouldn't even know about it. But if you admit to doing it, that's a confession, and it's an easy conviction for them. You won't even get a chance to plea bargain.

Unless a crime was committed against you or somebody you're concerned about, talking to the cops can't do you any good, and it can do you harm. So it's foolish to do it.

It's too bad, but the cops are acting like pigs, so you can't do it.

Comment: Re:Never talk to US law enforcement (Score 2) 92

by nbauman (#47755649) Attached to: Early Bitcoin User Interviewed By Federal Officers

Assuming these were probably FBI or Secret Service agents, my understanding is that the only record allowed of the interview consists of their handwritten notes. You are not allowed to make a recording. This means that, afterwards, they can put any spin on the interview that they want. If you disagree, they can and will throw you in jail for lying to a federal officer.

I thought you were allowed to make a recording. If I decided I wanted to talk to them, I would say, "I'd like to record this conversation so we have an accurate record. Can I do that?" If they say no, I would say, "I'm sorry then, I have nothing to say."

But I don't think I would talk to them.

I'm not even sure it's illegal to secretly record a conversation. There were state laws, like one in Massachusetts, that made it illegal, but they may have been overturned. IANAL, I don't know.

I remember during the Vietnam war, the FBI came to interview an anti-war activist at his home. He secretly taped the conversation, led them on a long, interesting discussion about politics, and then broadcast the tape over Pacifica radio.

The only possible reply to these officers should be "I have nothing to say to you".

That's right. My line would be, "I've been told by many lawyers not to talk to the police without a lawyer present. Give me a card and I'll get back to you, when (and if) I get a lawyer. I prefer that you send me a list of questions in writing."

If I was ever tempted to be a good citizen and cooperate with the FBI, the Thomas Butler case showed me what happens to people who do that even when as far as they know they're innocent.

If the FBI is going to act like dicks, then people aren't going to cooperate with them.

Comment: Re:I forced myself to watch it (Score 1) 300

by nbauman (#47754257) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

More likely the result of things like this. But even Khalid Mashal said that he opposes Zionism, not Jews.


The IDF refused to let an ambulance bring them to the hospital[..]

Both sides are guilty in that conflict. But going back to the topic of this story, it is interesting to note that the Hamas "execution" of 18 civilians in Gaza didn't receive anything like the same coverage although it happend only a few days after the Foley murder.

I think the Hamas executions got an appropriate amount of coverage. I saw it reported in every newspaper I read, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Haaretz. I searched Google News for "Hamas execution" and got 36,000 hits. Of course, "foley beheading" got 6 million hits, but that was so lurid that even newspapers that don't usually cover the middle east reported it.

While I think capital punishment is usually wrong, I would have a hard time arguing against the Hamas executions if I were a defense lawyer in Gaza. During the Second World War, Jews used to kill informers all the time. The ones who caught informers and didn't kill them wound up in the concentration camps.

I read histories and diaries of WWII, and that's what they did. The most popular Holocaust diary was Art Spiegelman's Maus, and if you read it, you will recall that the Spiegelman family was hiding in an abandoned house when a strange Jew found them. One of the cousins said that they should kill him, because he was an informer, but the rest of them decided not to, and let him go. He informed on them, and the Nazis caught them and sent them to Auschwitz. (The informer wound up in Auschwitz too, and the cousin killed him.)

To this day, Jewish informers are despised in the Jewish community. Even in New York, when orthodox Jewish criminals are caught by the police, they resist informing on their co-conspirators at all costs. During the McCarthy days, Jewish Communists went to jail rather than inform on others.

The Jewish informers in WWII were often in a tough spot, and they were usually informing to stay alive themselves, but the ethics were pretty clear: If you caught an informer, kill him. If you let him go, he would inform on you and you would be dead with your family. The Palestinian informers aren't even that desperate. They're doing it to get travel permits to work in Israel, or to get relatives out of jail, or just for cash.

The Palestinian informers are informing the Israelis so that the Israelis can use air-to-ground missiles to kill Hamas sympathizers, and often their families, and often entire apartment buildings. That's a summary execution without due process too.

I'm also uncomfortable with summary executions. But we did it in WWII. I read a diary of a woman who was a refugee during WWII during the Nazi and Soviet occupations. When the Soviets came in and took over the town she was in, they told the women to stay in a convent and warned them not to leave. Two women didn't listen, and left the convent that evening, apparently just to look around and have fun. Two Soviet soldiers caught them and raped them. The next morning, during formation, the Soviet officer told the women to point out the soldiers who had raped them. They did, and he had them shot on the spot.

I heard a historian say that it was striking that the Soviet troops who were commanded by Jewish officers didn't commit rape. Maybe that's the way they did it.

Both sides are guilty of war crimes, yes. But I don't think you can compare the Israeli killing of a 3-year-old and 9-year-old child, which had no military purpose at all, to Hamas killing informers, who are themselves aiding the enemy and responsible for mass killings of Palestinians. Even Jews despise informers. Even Jews despise soldiers who kill 3-year-old children. As I do.

If the Israelis want to fight anti-Semitism, a good way to start would be to stop killing 3-year-old children.

Comment: Re:NYC Resident Here (Score 1) 149

by nbauman (#47750997) Attached to: Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

This is all from one apartment directly above me. If I complain to NYC, it means that they're sued to death and evicted (which I'm sorely tempted to do, but the punishment is very harsh). If I don't, I have to live in a noisier, less enjoyable circumstance.

And yes, I've taken the time to ask the folks upstairs to be more considerate. Their response? "It's our right", even though it's against the law.

AirBnB sucks.

I have dealt with neighbor problems in a Breakfast-at-Tiffany's type New York City apartment building, and those neighbors included several musicians and a dimwit upstairs whose bathtub kept overflowing. I'm not so quiet myself, and I often work late. We usually managed to work everything out.

One guy was an asshole. I tried to talk to him, the landlord tried to talk to him, but he just wanted to do things his way. I felt the way you do about calling in the authorities, but finally I reached the last straw. I called the cops and had him arrested. (He was making harassing, hang-up phone calls to me all night.) Then he left New York City, and I had no reason to prosecute.

It sounds like your neighbor is an asshole. You've tried to reason with him and it didn't work. Drop a dime on him. Complain to the City.

Comment: Re:Just what constitutes a bad actor? (Score 1) 149

by nbauman (#47750837) Attached to: Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

That's just arbitrage taking care of market inefficiencies in the form of government-mandated rent control. If the rent were at market value the profit made from renting it out (less operating expenses) would be nearly a wash.

An efficient market isn't the most important thing in the world.

If we had a free market in housing in New York City, the middle class and certainly the poor couldn't have lived here over the last 60 years.

We have certain values in New York City. We want to live in a town with rich and poor. We want an actor or artist from the midwest or China to be able to come to New York City and find a place to live. We want a teacher who's been living in an apartment for 30 years to be able to stay there at the same rent.

I don't think it would be a wash. I don't think everybody would be better off. We're slowly deregulating, and the result is that, in the new housing, only the rich can afford housing and the poor have nowhere to live. I don't want that.

In the free market, there are winners and losers. Most of the middle class renters in New York City would be losers. Why should we vote for politicians who would make us losers? Why should we turn the world over to the rich?

Comment: Re:Of course they'll downplay it.. (Score 1) 149

by nbauman (#47750223) Attached to: Airbnb To Hand Over Data On 124 Hosts To New York Attorney General

You're saying that if I make arrangements with someone to allow them to stay in a spare room and they give me $30 a night, I need to adhere to all regulations a full fledged hotel would have to.

In New York City, according to my state assemblyman, you're not violating the law if you make arrangements for someone to stay in a spare room for $30 a night. (Although you may be violating your lease.)

You're violating the law if you make arrangements for someone to stay in your apartment by themselves for $30 a night, and leave. You have to be there.

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries