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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mister Bluster says:
  2. Scott says:

    Yep, it is already starting. Foreign influence on our elections. Disinformation. The whole nine yards. I am not optimistic at all. Especially when I see Facebook sharings from people I know that spread clearly false and/or inflammatory posts. I don’t buy the argument that the American population is smart enough to see through this crap.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/facebook-shuts-down-new-accounts-from-iran-and-russia-spreading-disinformation

    And not just Facebook but Instagram: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/facebook-s-instagram-poised-be-2020-disinformation-battleground-experts-say-n1063941

    It will not be pretty.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Was perusing the Time Traveler Dictionary for my birth year (’58). Among such gems as beatnik, birth mother, cancer stick, ekistics, kaon, Lou Gerhigs disease, transient ischemic attack, and zeitgeber, were also, NOLA, psilocybin, and smart ass.

    Kinda funny that “smart ass” and I were born the same year. Fitting too.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Humbling’ wreckage of Japanese ships from battle of Midway found in Pacific

    Wreckage discovered of Japanese ships from WWII battle of Midway – video

    Marine archaeologists believe they have identified the wreck of the Japanese aircraft carrier the Akagi, which was sunk during the second world war’s battle of Midway, regarded by some historians as one of the most consequential naval engagements in history.

    In the space of a week naval historians with the research vessel Petrel announced that they had discovered the remains of two of the four Japanese carriers that were sunk during the battle. The team’s efforts had concentrated on identifying all of the vessels sunk during the June 1942 engagement that cost the lives of 2,000 Japanese and 300 Americans.
    ………………………….
    The Akagi was found in 5,490 metres (18,011 ft) of water and more than 1,300 miles (2,090km) north-west of Pearl Harbor.

    A high-frequency sonar image of the wreck site, taken by the research vessel’s underwater drone, shows the huge carrier lying broken on the sea bed amid debris, but otherwise remarkably intact.

    “I’m sure of what we’re seeing here, the dimensions that we’re able to derive from this image (are) conclusive,” Kraft said. “It can be none other than Akagi.”

  5. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m a bit older than you, and was surprised to find both “ballpoint pen” and “microprogramming” first appeared in 1953.

  6. Teve says:

    @Scott: I expect China will get seriously involved too. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that electing Republicans damages America and correspondingly makes other players stronger.

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  7. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I really don’t care enough to click on the link, but I do wonder: are there empty sewers in Madrid they need to fill in?

  8. Teve says:

    Emily BOO #electghosts
    @Emilycgb
    ·
    26m
    Can an entire regional economy be built upon a retail system composed mostly of surplus, thrift, and “dollar” stores?

    It’s untenable to tell us the economy is good when this is the landscape.

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  9. Kathy says:

    I’ve a serious question I can’t finish wrapping my head around: What’s the intrinsic value of a stock?

    I understand the value as an investment, requiring buying and selling. this is not what I mean.

    Some things have an objective value, others a subjective one, and many more some of both.

    Consider a collectible fad, like Beanie Babies or tulips. The things themselves are worth only a little, objectively, as determined by manufacturing/growing costs, distribution, retal markup, etc. But they rise in price for being subjectively desired. Eventually the fad ends, people get tired of it, and prizes crash.

    On the other hand, consider a house. Yes, it can be an investment, but the objective value is obvious: it provides a place for you and your family to live. it has rooms where you can sleep, relax, work, cook, keep your stuff, etc., as well as providing a clean, warm space protected from the elements. People have lived in house, and apartments, since the even before the first cities arose, and will continue to do so indefinitely. The housing market has ups and downs, but housing is forever.

    So, stocks appreciate in value pretty much because some people want them, and are willing to pay for them. But why? what’s the intrinsic value?

    I can see some forms.

    First, if the stock pays dividends reliably (ie every year regardless of schedule), then a number of shares can provide an income.

    Second, as voting shares in a company (I know not all kinds of stocks get a vote), enough shares can get you a say in a company’s management, objectives, strategies, etc.

    Third, and again as voting shares, enough shares can give you control/ownership of a company. You can run it as you want, merge it with another company you own, close it down for some reason, etc.

    I suppose I’m missing a few more, besides being an investment.

    For most people, though, owning a few hundred shares among billions of shares in one company, or a few hundred dozens of shares among dozens of billions of shares in several companies, does nothing much as far as dividends go, nor in controlling or owning a company. So, in effect, they hold stocks as an investment that has no intrinsic value for them, though it does for others.

    I still find it hard to comprehend. I think stocks (or shares) started out as a simple way of pooling resources to invest in productive enterprise, and then ballooned over time into a secondary market of its own, somewhat disconnected from reality.

    That last makes more sense to me. It’s also possibly all wrong.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy:

    What’s the intrinsic value of a stock?

    For me, none at all. I guess that’s why I don’t own any.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    I think stocks (or shares) started out as a simple way of pooling resources to invest in productive enterprise, and then ballooned over time into a secondary market of its own, somewhat disconnected from reality.

    Exactly.

    Think of the original idea as venture capitalists pooling their resources and sharing profits. After a while, the stream of profits (i.e. dividends) have value even to people who don’t care to exercise any actual management authority, and shares get traded around. Later, people who have expectations of future increased profitability start to speculate, buying shares in companies at prices too high for their current dividend rate.

    The tricky bit is how to explain demand for stocks of companies that don’t pay dividends, and never will. Is it totally irrational, like the market value of gold? Probably.

  12. Teve says:

    Andrew McCarthy wrote a whole book on why Obama should be impeached, and now he says that Trump shouldn’t be impeached because that would be trivializing impeachment.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alfred E Neuman fails upwards again:

    WeWork’s co-founder Adam Neumann has reportedly signed a $1.7bn deal to step back from the troubled office rentals company he founded. The move comes as the board of WeWork meets to consider a rescue plan worth almost $10bn (£7.7bn) from its biggest investor, Japan’s SoftBank. According to The Wall Street Journal, SoftBank will give Neumann almost $1.7bn as part of the deal – $1bn from the sale of his shares plus a $185m consultancy fee and a $500m line of credit.

    The payout comes as WeWork weighs up sacking about 2,000 people. The redundancies are on hold while WeWork refinances but are expected soon. The emergency refinancing proposals come only two months after Neumann prepared to float the company.

    Meritocracy my ass, our capitalism is broken.

  14. Teve says:

    Amazon doesn’t pay dividends, so you might say that 10,000 shares of Amazon stock don’t have any intrinsic value, but if that’s the case, I’d be happy to dispose of it for you.

  15. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: when I’m not laughing at the stupidity of Bitcoin, I’ve been laughing at the stupidity of first Uber and now We Work all year. there’s a great news story that came out this morning about how they want to lay off thousands of people but they can’t afford the severance right now 😀

    SoftBank rolled in with dollars and are gonna be rolling out with pennies.

  16. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I get “anxiety disorder,” “labradoodle,” “microaggression,” “kilobyte,” “dorky,” and “Hunan.” 1970.

    I would expect Hunan was used before then. And kilobyte.

  17. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: Also: I found Niall Ferguson’s book The Ascent of Money to be a very readable and fascinating history of the sequence of invented constructs that led to the modern economy. If I remember correctly, the sequence is something like
    barter
    money
    credit
    bonds
    stocks
    options
    derivatives
    Ferguson does a good job of explaining why each innovation was revolutionary, and what problems it solved (and created).

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Labradoodle in 1970? Wow, I think the first I heard that word was post 2000.

  19. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: ever since reading the Baroque Cycle, I’ve been looking for a book on that topic, thanks.

  20. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    And kilobyte.

    Given that ‘byte’ is only attested from 1964, I can imagine that it took 6 years for someone to actually write down ‘kilobyte’ in a place that has survived. The OED gives the 1970 citation as being from the Times of London:

    Its storage capacity could be 2,048 kilobytes compared with a maximum of 512 kilobytes for the 360/50.

    Clearly the word was already in widespread use for the Times to be comfortable using it without definition or explanation. It wouldn’t surprise me if earlier print use could be discovered in hobbyist or technical journals from the 60s.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Here’s something else to consider:

    When google went public, the stock price rose after the IPO, and investors were happy. When Facebook went public, the stock price then dropped right after the IPO, and investors were sad. Who did it better?

    I would say Facebook. The point of a stock offering is to generate money for the company, and Facebook left no money on the table.

    And a similar question: if the company is not raising funding, why should it care about its stock price? The people running the company who hold stock will, but if the company was a thinking entity on its own, it wouldn’t need to care.

  22. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    The tricky bit is how to explain demand for stocks of companies that don’t pay dividends, and never will. Is it totally irrational, like the market value of gold? Probably.

    I’ve wondered about that.

    It makes sense for a company to invest some of its profits in growth, even to invest all of its profits for a period of time (which can be very long). There’s also a need to keep cash in reserve. Past that, though, what do they do with all that money?

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republican governance in action: Brazilians rally to clean beaches amid outrage at Bolsonaro’s oil spill inaction

    On Monday evening, Sport Club Bahia – one of the biggest football teams in Brazil’s north-east – faced its rivals Ceará with black oil stains on their red, white and blue shirts. It was the latest sign of the growing outrage over a mystery oil spill that since early September has blighted a 2,200km stretch of some of the country’s most beautiful beaches – and the failure of President Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government to handle the crisis.

    Nobody knows where the oil is from or why it keeps washing up on Brazilian beaches. Yet while social media has been bombarded by videos of volunteers rolling up thick globs of oil in sand and putting them into plastic sacks, Bolsonaro sought to blame first Venezuela, then a “criminal action” to scupper a major oil tender. He has repeatedly attacked environmental protection agencies as a “fines industry” and has yet to visit affected areas.
    Oil contaminating Brazil’s beaches ‘very likely from Venezuela’, minister says
    Read more

    “There is clear revulsion over the government’s inaction,” said Marcus Melo, a professor of political science at the Federal University of Pernambuco in the north-east. “The government has a certain myopia in understanding how serious this is.”

    On Monday, Bolsonaro’s vice-president Hamilton Mourão announced that 5,000 more troops will be dispatched to help clean up the spill, but for many Brazilians the response was too little, too late.

    Joel de Oliveira Filho, 57, proprietor of a guesthouse on Carneiras beach – one of the most famous beaches in the north-east state of Pernambuco – joined other local residents who started cleaning up oil with help from city hall employees. Nobody from federal government was there, he said.

    “People in the north-east are cleaning the oil from the coast with their own hands while the federal government is immobile,” he said.

    In nearby Bahia, volunteers organised the group Coast Guardians to clean beaches. It has 19,000 followers on its Instagram and has raised $4,800 online for protective gloves, boots and masks.

    “This is civil society getting organised. Our movement does not support any political party, we support nature,” said Miguel Sehbe Neto, 37, a company administrator from Salvador who runs one of its 20 beach teams. “What we want is an explanation and effective action.”

    Their team had help from naval personnel and environment agency staff when cleaning up two local beaches. But the government has not been able to map the slicks or stop them reaching the coast, he said – and many other beaches still need help.

    ETA blockquote fail. everything after the link is from the article

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  24. Teve says:

    I just started Little Fires Everywhere and it’s fantastic.

  25. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Also: I found Niall Ferguson’s book The Ascent of Money to be a very readable and fascinating history of the sequence of invented constructs that led to the modern economy.

    Thanks, I’ll look it up.

    I now the basics of money. We were assigned a book on that subject in high school, and my paper on it got an A (and a very angry teacher).

    Somewhere in that progression, business founders begin to pay themselves a salary, then yearly bonus, and their share of the company grows ever more intangible.

  26. Teve says:

    Gustopher:

    And a similar question: if the company is not raising funding, why should it care about its stock price? The people running the company who hold stock will, but if the company was a thinking entity on its own, it wouldn’t need to care.

    If your market cap falls below your book value, then assholes at KKR call up a bank and borrow enough money to take control of the company, sell it for parts, and pocket the difference.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    And a similar question: if the company is not raising funding, why should it care about its stock price? The people running the company who hold stock will, but if the company was a thinking entity on its own, it wouldn’t need to care.

    But the Chicago School sold the idea that stock price is the ONLY thing management should care about. A concept enforced by stock options for management. There is something deeply wrong with corporate governance in this country.

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  28. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Hey! The Dow is at another all time high and it’s NEVER ever been a better time to be rich in the history of civilization. What’s all this talk about a bad economy? Why do all you libs hate ‘Murka?

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  29. Fortunato says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    My birth year, 1960, offers an interesting snapshot in time –
    AC/DC (as in, goes both ways), a-go-go, arcade game, bug-out bag, cruise control, discotheque, free jazz, hate crime, Montezuma’s revenge, narco, new wave, nonheterosexual, omnisexual, poo, rap sheet, reality check, scroungy
    soul food, stink eye and thunder lizard.

    It’s like Drug Story Cowboy with a touch of Saturday Night Fever.

  30. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: You’re system is very much better than the one I grew up in. In the US, papers that make teachers angry don’t get “A” grades.

  31. Jen says:

    @Teve: That’s a good one. Celeste Ng also wrote Everything I Never Told You which is also a very good book.

    I just finished reading American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee, and wow what a book. I think it’s one of the only nonfiction books I’ve ever read that I actually finished reading not just the book, but also read ALL of the chapter notes included.

  32. Teve says:

    @Jen: I was lucky enough to find it on Libby and download it to the Kindle, after I saw high praise about it from several people. I’m 5% in and it’s really good so far.

    And I just emailed the local library’s ILL desk for the Niall Ferguson book. 🙂

  33. Kathy says:

    @just nutha ignint cracker:

    I made her angry after I got the grade.

  34. gVOR08 says:

    OK, apparently I’m the codger on the thread. 1946: absurdist, antifa, buzzword, cobalt 60, counterfactual, digital computer, futurology, glove box, hypersonic, key lime pie, Latino, moonquake, postcommunist, printed circuit, Revised Standard Version, space-age, work-study-program, zombify.

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: @Kathy: Owning “growth” stocks that don’t pay dividends means you’re hoping that the company grows enough and finally becomes profitable (or looks like it will become profitable) so that you can sell your stocks at a higher price.

    Add to this the low present return on bonds and other forms of interest-bearing financial objects, and yeah, there’s a lot of dumb money looking for places to be parked…..which means ever increasing stock prices.

    The other reason to go into stocks is any increase in “value” remains untaxed until the stock is sold. And if you die before you sell the stock, it gets passed on to your heir on a “stepped-up” basis. Which means if your heir sells it, he’s only got to worry about the difference between the price he sold it at and the death date value. Hooray!

    …..thus stocks have extra uses in estate tax planning….

  36. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Dear Site Admins: it seems that every time I edit a comment of mine, it’s going to the spam filter even though the original post is accepted.

  37. Teve says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: the software is saying, “on second thought, your comment sucks.”

    😛

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Owning “growth” stocks that don’t pay dividends means you’re hoping that the company grows enough and finally becomes profitable (or looks like it will become profitable) so that you can sell your stocks at a higher price.

    Yeah, but if the company never pays dividends (i.e. shares profits among investors) and never will, why should the price of the stock go up just because the company is profitable? When there are dividends, or possibility of future dividends, it’s easy to see why shares might go up in value. When you completely divorce the shares from the profits, why do shares have any value at all? At that point, it makes even less sense than tulip bulbs…

  39. Monala says:

    On Balloon Juice, they shared the Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler feature, where you can see which words entered the dictionary in a given year.

    I find it interesting that the creation of new words seems to have slowed considerably in this century. Anyone have any thoughts about why that might be?

  40. DrDaveT says:

    @Monala:

    I find it interesting that the creation of new words seems to have slowed considerably in this century. Anyone have any thoughts about why that might be?

    Selection bias. The new words coined recently aren’t yet in M-W. It takes a while to determine which language fads will stick and which will vanish into the mists of time.

  41. Kit says:

    @Monala:

    I find it interesting that the creation of new words seems to have slowed considerably in this century. Anyone have any thoughts about why that might be?

    My guess is that it only appears that the creation has slowed. The reality is that it takes some time for a word to become accepted by dictionaries. Once it does, they go back to find the earliest reference. Some kid is certainly coining a new word right now, but it will take some time before those of us here at OTB are casually tossing it around.

  42. Kit says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yeah, but if the company never pays dividends (i.e. shares profits among investors) and never will, why should the price of the stock go up just because the company is profitable?

    I think @Teve nailed it:

    If your market cap falls below your book value, then assholes at KKR call up a bank and borrow enough money to take control of the company, sell it for parts, and pocket the difference.

    The stock price must reflect a certain minimum value of a company lest the company fall easy prey to a takeover.

    Are there any for-profit companies that state in their charter that they will never pay dividends?

  43. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kit: I think you’ve hit the factor. When I took some linguistics classes in grad school, we discussed the sociological/cultural factors that go into word adoption for sources like Miriam Webster and such. I no longer remember the factors, but do remember that recent additions have come under some push back for being “too early to decide” that the word is now part of the language.

  44. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yeah, but if the company never pays dividends (i.e. shares profits among investors) and never will, why should the price of the stock go up just because the company is profitable?

    I think this makes sense, and I’m surprised it does.

    Shares do represent something real: the entirety of the assets, and liabilities, a company owns. So any increase in the worth of the company logically increases the price of each share.

    Let’s say you own a baking company, “XYZ Bakery Inc.”, with a net worth of $2,000,000. If 1,000 shares exist, whether they’re traded or not, then each is fairly worth $2,000. If you increase sales, or the price of flour goes way down, for example, and the company grows to be worth $2,100,000, then the fair price per share ought to be $2,100.

    You can get the tulip effect if hype makes it look better than it is, or if your product is riding a fad. But the price of the stock should rise along with rising assets.

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..are there empty sewers in Madrid they need to fill in?

    The item states:

    The ruling Socialists have long sought to exhume Franco’s remains and turn the Valley of the Fallen complex near the capital Madrid into a memorial to the 500,000 people who were killed during the 1936-39 civil war he unleashed.
    A crane will lift the slab and, if the original zinc-lined wood coffin is too degraded, the dictator’s remains will be transferred into a new coffin, the sources said.
    Twenty-two of Franco’s descendants will be present for the exhumation, which is set to start at 1030 (0830 GMT) on Thursday, the sources said.
    Some of these family members will carry the coffin on their shoulders to an awaiting helicopter – or in the case of bad weather, hearse – which will take it to the Mingorrubio El Pardo cemetery north of Madrid, where Franco will be buried alongside his wife.

    I guess you’re just not the romantic type…

    I think the second link under the Nixon quote is important because as slimey as Trump is “And then we fell in love, okay? No, really – he wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters,” we should not forget the despicable alliances our past leaders have made.

  46. Teve says:
  47. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I’ll believe Trump will resign when he hysterically denies it and calls it fake news.

  48. Teve says:

    I posted something about this a day or two ago but here it is again:

    Trump flips off female astronaut

  49. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Ambassador William B. Taylor put some nails in Trump’s coffin today…maybe not the final nails…but definitely some nails.
    It’s going to be hard, even for pathetic sycophants like Graham, to ignore what Taylor told Congress. And he said it under oath…backed up with meticulous contemporaneous notes.

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  50. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    Let’s say you own a baking company, “XYZ Bakery Inc.”, with a net worth of $2,000,000. If 1,000 shares exist, whether they’re traded or not, then each is fairly worth $2,000.

    XYZ Bakery can issue more shares at any time, so even that simple math would have to be adjusted for that risk. (More shares might be issued to fund an expansion, which should result in higher share price later, but maybe not)

    I don’t think the simple math applies at all, mind you, but if it does, it has to be adjusted for that risk.

    I mean, how often do companies rise and fall leaving nothing in their wake but debts larger than assets? Far more often than a decision that they had a good run, it’s beginning to go south, and the best thing they can do is sell off the assets before collapsing and return that to the shareholders as a dividend. (Kodak should have done this)

    The end value of a stock is typically zero. Stock ownership is a game of hot potato.

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  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    The end value of a stock is typically zero.

    Not exactly. Owning stock in a company that gets acquired can be quite lucrative. That may be a piece of what’s driving the growth for many companies.

  52. Teve says:

    About the Ascent of Money book, a friend messaged me and said ‘didn’t Brad delong or Krugman say Ferguson was a dumbass about something?’ and I seem to remember one of them saying Ferguson had something terribly wrong, but I can’t remember what it was.

  53. Teve says:

    companies that pay dividends and companies that don’t

    @Gustopher:

    XYZ Bakery can issue more shares at any time, so even that simple math would have to be adjusted for that risk. (More shares might be issued to fund an expansion, which should result in higher share price later, but maybe not)

    I don’t think the simple math applies at all, mind you, but if it does, it has to be adjusted for that risk.

    Kathy’s example wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive model, it was a simple explanation of why a company can have a positive stock price change without dividends.

  54. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I’m hoping we get an OP about this because I’m seeing a lot of agitation on Twitter but nothing about the substance. And frankly I’m lazy and don’t want to do a bunch of reading about Trump bullshit. Hoping somebody comes along and gives me the executive summary 🙂

  55. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: I do not endorse Ferguson as an economist; yes, he was famously pwned by Krugman in a public dispute over whether Obama policies would cause interest rates to rise. I do, however, think he wrote a pretty good history book.

  56. Michael Cain says:

    Every time I think the Brits can’t make Brexit any weirder, Parliament proves me wrong.

  57. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: I’m getting it interlibrary loan so it should be here in a couple of weeks. I’m a geek for how systems work and I really I am curious about a lot of things in finance.

  58. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..I’m seeing a lot of agitation on Twitter but nothing about the substance.

    Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

    “Our national security demands that this relationship remain strong,” Taylor said of U.S. ties with Ukraine. “However, in August and September of this year, I became increasingly concerned that our relationship with Ukraine was being fundamentally undermined by an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making and by the withholding of vital security assistance for domestic political reasons.”
    Taylor described this channel as including Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, then-Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Sondland.
    Taylor also said Sondland told him that he recognized he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials that Zelenskiy’s desire for a White House meeting with Trump was dependent on a public announcement of investigations Trump sought. In fact, Taylor testified, Sondland said “‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.’” Reuters

  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    Aaaaand we have quid pro quo, proof positive that Trump was using our money to shake down a . foreign leader in order to harm a domestic political opponent. As a former SDNY prosecutor pointed out on MSNBC, laughing as he did so, cases like this don’t usually go to court because they’re slam dunk and the perp takes a plea.

    Trump abused his power, full stop. And it is now absurd to pretend that he didn’t knowingly take help from Putin as well.

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  60. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    Some things have an objective value, others a subjective one, and many more some of both.

    Can’t resist another anecdote here…

    In 2003, a very different sort of massively multiplayer online game kicked off. It was called “A Tale in the Desert”, and was set in Ancient Egypt. There was no fighting; the entire point of the game was to collectively build civilization by producing stuff, donating it to temples, and thereby unlocking new technologies that allowed for more complex stuff, etc. A crafter’s heaven.

    At one point in the initial release (the “first telling”), the technology “printing press” was unlocked, which allowed people to create a device that produced identical documents with an identifying stamp saying which machine had made them. A group of economics grad students who were playing the game together built a printing press that produced a document called “100 Egypt dollars”, or some such. They then offered to trade 1 such document for a basket of standard goods that spanned the technology tree of the game — a bit of glass, a bit of cloth, some iron nails, something like that. They would trade in either direction, accepting notes for stuff or stuff for notes.

    The history of debate over paper currencies immediately ensued, with most players taking advantage of the paper money (which was much easier to carry than bulky goods) but many players arguing that the paper had no intrinsic value and was a scam, etc. It didn’t take long for the value of a dollar to break away from the alleged basket of goods, or for competing currencies to pop up (and fail). It was totally fascinating to watch.

  61. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: It’s sad to think that this public servant who came out of well deserved requirement to serve his country one more time, will now be trashed by the bottom feeders that make up the modern Republican Party.

    Scum. Is there a senior Republican left that isn’t a quivering milquetoast or a sociopathic monster?

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  62. Teve says:

    this is crazy. So many people are speculating that Kellyanne Conway is Anonymous that her name is trending on Twitter right now.

  63. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    As a former SDNY prosecutor pointed out on MSNBC, laughing as he did so, cases like this don’t usually go to court because they’re slam dunk and the perp takes a plea.

    preet bharara said a few weeks ago that the quid pro quo is always implied, and he has put plenty of people away for it.

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  64. An Interested Party says:

    Pity the poor, downtrodden heterosexual white man…you know trouble is coming when someone claims not to be prejudiced…

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  65. Tyrell says:

    World Series starts tonight. The NBA kicks off their season. All of the NBA arenas have announced that they will accept US money. They are also giving out free copies of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book to the first five thousand fans.

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  66. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    yes, he was famously pwned by Krugman

    He wasn’t just pwned by an economist. He said something so laughably illiterate it should disqualify him from ever being taken seriously about anything, ever. He disputed the Obama Admin’s claim that the ACA would decrease the deficit, by citing the CBO which said that the ACA spent billions of dollars. Yes, that was his argument. He neglected to mention that the Obama Admin’s claim was based directly on the CBO’s estimate that the law would spend a lot of money, but save more money. He didn’t seem to understand the difference between a policy that includes government spending and a policy that causes a net rise in the deficit. That shows a total ignorance not just of US fiscal policy but of basic accounting. This is every bit as bad an error as if he claimed Puerto Rico isn’t part of the US or that neanderthals took rides on triceratops.

    But I don’t believe for second that it was an actual error (particularly since he refused to back down even after it was pointed out to him). He’s a right-wing hack who deliberately distorts the facts because he knows his audience is dumb enough to fall for it. It calls into question everything he’s ever written. Anyone who makes the above argument has absolutely zero credibility as a public commentator on politics, economics, or anything else.

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  67. Teve says:

    So I’ve just spent about 15 minutes browsing the economist, the guardian, the New York Review of books, and a few others, and the impression that I get is that A) Ferguson is a right-winger who is usually completely wrong when he opines about current economic events, and B) the Ascent of Money is generally good as far as the history goes.

  68. Teve says:

    If anybody knows of any other readable books about the historical development of finance over the last 500 years, please add those to my list.

  69. Jax says:

    @Kylopod: We’ve missed you! I suspected you were still out there, just not interested in commenting. 😉

  70. Guarneri says:

    I have a confession to make:

    I am a member of the Vast Russian Wing Conspiracy. Please don’t tell Hillary.

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  71. Teve says:

    The Hill
    @thehill
    · 1h
    Susan Rice: Lindsey Graham is “a piece of shit” http://hill.cm/qgJRxto

  72. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    I just started Little Fires Everywhere and it’s fantastic.

    They might be little fires when you start them, but they can become big fires before you know it. Starting a small fire is like getting a kitten, really.

    But, yes, watching things burn is wonderful.

  73. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: Here are two: “The Creature of Jekyll Island: A second look at the Federal Reserve” (G E. Griffin)
    “The House of Morgan” (Chernow) J.P. Morgan – the man who saved America.

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  74. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: In the mid seventies, when we were experiencing high inflation, John Kenneth Galbraith wrote Money, from Whence it Came, and Where it Went. Looks at money and banking rather than finance generally. But good history and hilarious. Galbraith was the Paul Krugman of the sixties and seventies.

    In the aftermath of the 08 financial crisis Alan Greenspan testifies to a congressional committee that as Fed Chair he thought banks would manage risk themselves. Had the committee read Galbraith’s book they would have laughed Greenspan out of the room. One constant in history is that if you don’t regulate the hell out of banks they will fail.

  75. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    It calls into question everything he’s ever written.

    If you insist. Fortunately, we have lots of other expert reviewers we can rely on to learn that, apparently totally by accident and in spite of himself, he wrote an accurate an informative history book.

  76. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: one of the news-based comedy shows like The daily show or something did an interesting segment years ago about the American banking system versus the Canadian banking system. The takeaway was that the American banking system is relatively unregulated and it’s had yuge profits and it’s had approximately 487 extinction-level-catastrophes, whereas the Canadian system is heavily regulated and has low profits and they haven’t had a crisis in like a century. The other takeaway was that presented with those facts, every American banker insisted that the American system was the better one because Freedom.

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  77. Teve says:

    @gVOR08:

    One constant in history is that if you don’t regulate the hell out of banks they will fail.

    we deregulated the airlines and they all went bankrupt, we deregulated the savings and loans and they crashed and burned, we deregulated how banks dealt with mortgage securities and they caused the biggest collapse since the Great depression. It’s almost like there’s a lesson here.

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  78. Kylopod says:

    @Jax: I’m still here. If my post count has gone down as of late, it’s due to a mix of a new job and the recent spate of Jewish holidays.

  79. Teve says:
  80. Teve says:

    Jen Statsky
    @jenstatsky
    ·
    13h
    now that the NBA is back i can stop pretending to give a shit about anything else. if you’re a dear friend and you have a baby or something don’t even bother telling me.

  81. Teve says:

    Hugh Hewitt
    @hughhewitt
    “I’ll take Quid Pro Quos for $1,000 Alex”
    “U.S. acquired approximately 827,000 square miles of land west of Mississippi river for $15 million.”
    “What is Seward’s Folly?”
    “Sorry
    @Steelers
    fans, it is ‘What is the Louisiana Purchase, the Louisiana Purchase.'” #QuidProQuoJeopardy
    8:05 AM · Oct 23, 2019·Twitter Web App

    Gaelen Schumann
    @GaelenSchumann
    ·
    6m
    Replying to
    @hughhewitt
    and
    @steelers
    Here for the ratio, because that is the stupidest f****** thing I’ve heard in quite some time.

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  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Meh… we already knew that.

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  83. Teve says:

    Kevin M. Kruse
    @KevinMKruse
    ·
    1h
    I’m writing an article about the Republican congressmen who stuck with Nixon to the bitter end only to regret it and, man, I only wish it were somehow relevant today.

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  84. Teve says:

    what if I told you there was a video where after he talks about New Mexico, Trump says he’s building a wall in Colorado, a big beautiful wall that works, and the tards at his rally stand up and applaud that?

    feast yer eyes on this shit

  85. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    Trump says he’s building a wall in Colorado, a big beautiful wall that works

    He needs it because the one in New Mexico doesn’t?

  86. Teve says:

    Admittedly, we should build a wall around Colorado Springs, but that’s a different issue.

  87. Kathy says:

    The new company-issued phones are here.

    I got a Moto 5e with 16GB, which I hope will be enough to run the essentials. For now, I placed the SIM chip in it, so my personal phone is bereft of data and calling abilities.

    A coworker told me to refuse to take it, and demand a better model from the ones available, specifically a Samsung A30. I was tempted, but a) I prefer to save my corporate trouble-making for stuff that’s actually worth it, like a raise or benefits, and b) the A30 has a USB C connector, so I’d have to get a cable with one for the car charger.

  88. Teve says:

    @Kathy: personally when I bought my last smartphone USB c was a requirement. I have had a bad time with every micro USB cable I’ve ever used.

  89. MarkedMan says:

    There has been the occasional discussion on OTB about politicians going to speak at a conference for big bucks. Some feel it is a bribe where that industry is trying to influence legislation or policy. I’ve vociferously argued that the organizers select pretty much randomly from the tier of speakers, although if they choose a politician they will make sure they alternate party affiliations. Here’s a piece of evidence – I’ve gone to this show called HIMMS on Health Informatics a number of times and am pretty sure they have had politicians as keynote speakers at least a few times in the past. Not ex-President level, but pretty high. Maybe my memory fails me, or maybe they just decided to stay out of the politician column for a while, but witness who is keynoting at this highly technical medical show this year:

    As the World Series kicks off this week, we’re excited to announce that three-time MVP, 14-time All-Star, 2009 World Series champion and Emmy award-winning baseball commentator Alex Rodriguez will close out HIMSS20. Discover what baseball and business taught A-Rod about the importance of analytics in decision-making when he takes the stage on Friday, March 13, 2020. Register for HIMSS20 by November 1, 2019, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win an exclusive meet-and-greet with A-Rod!

  90. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I’ve had just two micro USB cables go bad on me, and one was after two years of using it at different locations. So I’d rather not spend unnecessary money on a USB C cable for the car.

  91. Teve says:

    @Kathy: with micro USB cables the problems I’ve had with them is the pins get a little out of whack and then they don’t want to charge. The problem I have with every kind of cable is that where the long wire part meets the chunky plastic part they all split and the wiring frays. I have some Anker cables on my Amazon list, but if anybody has any suggestions for particularly durable cables please let me know.

  92. Teve says:

    I’m kind of surprised that Matt Gaetz’s dishonest SCIF shenanigans haven’t turned into an OP here yet.

  93. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    If i find one, I’ll let you know. I’ve heard you shouldn’t move the cables around much, nor roll and unroll them, as that frays the copper threads in the wiring. Nor should you angle the tip. Past that, no clue.

  94. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I’ve decided to avoid any connectors that require a specific orientation. Not sure if that’s why they break, as you keep twisting them around, but they have broken me.

    USB-C can also be used to charge faster. But that’s a minor issue compared to always somehow being upside down.

    Micro-USB cables are always upside down, just like cats always land on their feet. There’s probably some conservation of orientation that connects them.

  95. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Micro-USB cables are always upside down, just like cats always land on their feet. There’s probably some conservation of orientation that connects them.

    I think it’s related to the propensity of cables to form Gordian knots.

  96. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: micro USB ports and plugs are quantum entangled. If one is up, the other is necessarily down.

  97. Mister Bluster says:

    Houston…we have a problem.
    Maybe the Astros can win 2 out of 3 in DC.

  98. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: FWIW, I feel like you are correct. I used to work for a trade association (at the state level), and whether it was us or the national org, the main objective of selecting the speaker was to find someone who could get butts in seats. Conferences were one of the main ways in which we raised money for the organization beyond dues, so they were critically important. The idea was to find the biggest draw possible who could speak to either our issues directly, or say something upbeat/interesting enough that attendees would feel like the conference was a success–so that they’d come back the next year.