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You don't need to dig deeper, it's completely transparent. Everything Putin says is meant for internal consumption in Russia, where nobody (within 99% margin, Putin doesn't care about a minuscule bunch of geeks who only talk to people like them) knows how NSA or CIA works and can not distinguish between CIA operative and NSA technical contractor. So for them Snowden is a CIA spy, and the fact that CIA spy has defected to Russian side is a welcome reference to the olden times, where the cases of such defectors were celebrates and triumphantly displayed as a proof of the superiority of everything Soviet. There's nothing new and deep here - it is a simple lie that is designed to deceive the uninformed and keep them this way so that they would keep supporting Putin who protects them from CIA atrocities. Any authoritarian thug with quarter a brain does that.

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There's no need for anything to "come out", SORM and SORM-2 are official systems of mass surveillance deployed in Russia and everybody who knows anything about what's going on knows about it. Of course, Putin's words are directed to those that don't know, and these are the overwhelming majority.

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How SV army could ruin the weather?

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Unless you call "wealthy" anybody who owns 20% of a house, not really.

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You are condemned to a future of uncertainty anyways. That's the nature of living - you don't know what your income would be in the future, your health, your expenses. You can make some preparations - but you'd never be certain.

If you want the services the city provides, you have to pay for them. They are paid from property taxes. As those raise, so does the rent - after all, you live in the city, so you consume those services, so why don't you have to pay for them? That's your return - getting city services. If you don't like taxes being linked to property value - enact fixed taxes, but then you'd have to rein in city budget costs, including salaries, pensions, benefits, entitlements, etc. Somebody has to pay for all that. If not people living in the city, then who? If you want to stop paying for it, then you need to either stop consuming them, or find some other way to pay - what that would be?

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This would make underwater mortgage holders (at least lower-income ones) to stop paying taxes completely. After all, they've already lost their money, and have no hope of getting anything out of the sale, and there's no way anybody gets anything more out of them, it's bank's loss now. Moreover, it is in their interest to postpone the sale - since until sold, bank's incentive in eviction is much lower, and incentive in just discharging the part of the mortgage is higher, due to additional buyer costs. So if you shift the tax burden essentially to the buyer of the house, the consequences may be not that good.

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ScottBurson 5 days ago | link

The property owner would still be liable for annual tax payments on the assessed value of the property. When that is falling, the Prop. 13 limitation has no effect.

The lien we're talking about would be on the difference between the tax paid under Prop. 13 and the tax that would be due if there were no Prop. 13. If the mortgage is underwater, that difference is zero.

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Prop 8 was not about civil unions. If you want to discuss it, at least get your facts right. Benefits equality, etc. that is commonly understood under civil union umbrella existed in California long before prop 8, and prop 8 was not going to change that. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_partnership_in_Califo... For people for whom prop 8 is a big deal it would be a good thing to at least know what it was about.

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bunderbunder 6 days ago | link

Well, it depends on what you mean by "commonly understood under civil union umbrella". A lot of people mistakenly believe that civil unions are just a separate-but-equal version of marriage. That version of civil unions is a fairy tale.

Speaking as one member of a couple that finally gave up on making a civil union work and went ahead with an actual marriage a few years back, I can say that there's a night-and-day difference between the two. The institutional benefits that were available to us as a legally recognized civil union could be counted on one hand, and most of them were still not quite the same as what married people get. People who only have a civil union aren't allowed to share health savings accounts the way married people can, for example. The number of finacial and convenience perks we acquired the day after our marriage license got filed with the county clerk, on the other hand, are practically innumerable.

We feel like shits for exercising the privilege we enjoy as a heterosexual couple. But we're getting pragmatic in our old age, so here we are.

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smsm42 6 days ago | link

Whatever you understand under "civil union", prop 8 was not about it. It was specifically about "marriage". All the rest was already covered by California law. You can say it looks like "separate but equal" and benefits and other equality measures in domestic partnerships are not enough and only full recognition of same-sex unions as "marriage" is true equality. That's fine. But that doesn't make those who supported prop 8 opposition to civil unions or domestic partnerships as they are called in CA - in fact, domestic partnerships by that time in California were done deal and had the same status with regard to all law and benefits as marriage. But they could not be called marriage and were separate and different status. That was what prop 8 was about, not opposition to civil unions. Those are just different things.

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bunderbunder 5 days ago | link

> in fact, domestic partnerships by that time in California were done deal and had the same status with regard to all law and benefits as marriage.

They couldn't have. The federal government does not recognize civil unions, and many of the benefits of marriage come in through federal law. Even with that corner of DOMA being repealed, a state can still effectively cut people off from the vast majority of marriage benefits simply by offering only "civil unions" and not true marriage.

Your misunderstanding of this point is exactly what I was getting at with the post above - one characteristic that is inextricably linked to things like the Prop 8 debate is that a huge percentage of people taking part in it simply don't understand the basic facts of the situation.

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smsm42 5 days ago | link

I wasn't talking about federal benefits, I was talking about California specifically and the state law in California.

What I am not getting here is how California could control federal benefits? Could you specify which vast majority of benefits prop 8 would cut off? It certainly does not include insurance, taxes, pension, unemployment & disability benefits, survivor benefits, etc. as I see that those are covered by California domestic partnership law. As for federal ones, doesn't federal government controls those? Obama issuing regulation to equate benefits of domestic partnerships to those of marriages certainly suggests it is under federal control - otherwise why would the President do it?

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smsm42 10 days ago | link | parent | on: Drop Dropbox

Government connections -> contracts -> profit.

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The drug war is also a spectacular failure and has been a main source of civil rights abuses until 9/11 response overtook it in that capacity (not that it doesn't continue to provide a healthy competition still). But yes, expecting that government wakes up to reason anytime soon may be overly optimistic.

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I would like the laws that prevent my neighbor from buying a car better than mine, having a lawn greener than mine and complaining about my dog barking too loudly. It's nice that only thing that is required for any selfish wish to become a law is that there are a bunch of selfish people coming together. As long as you have 50%+1, you can do literally anything to those guys in 50%-1, they're in the minority, so vae victis.

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bmm6o 13 days ago | link

I would like laws that keep my neighbor from constructing strawmen weaker than mine.

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smsm42 13 days ago | link

So gather some like-minded people and pass a law. Apparently that's all it takes. Once the law is passed, it's sacred and no moral man can ever object it, because its THE LAW.

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JonFish85 13 days ago | link

This is a waste of my time, I'm sure, but you realize that from the very beginning, the US system of government was set up to avoid that scenario (among others), right? Checks & balances, division of congress, 3 branches of government, etc?

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smsm42 13 days ago | link

We do have all those wonderful things. However they do not exactly apply to city regulations in SF. Of course, most egregious abuses - like gun laws in DC and Chicago - eventually may get attention of the Supreme Court and even get shut down, but it is a long uphill battle even if the right being restricted is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as one not to be infringed. But the powers of local authorities to regulate local commerce are unlikely to be challenged by either Congress or Supreme Court, so while all those things are nice and useful, I'm not sure how they would help in this particular case.

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