Thursday assorted links

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File 6. under There is no great stagnation. Seems like the answer is maybe?

Is that considered productivity growth?

USSR used to make cognac by circulating plain alcohol through tubes packed with wood shavings, and sparkling wine (Sovetskoye Shampanskoye) by the fast French-Italian autoclave method (Charmat-Martinotti). No great stagnation indeed.

Well, they managed to speed up the ageing process of pu'er tea from decades to months. Like that breakthrough though, I expect fast-tracked whisky to lack some of the nuance. It's not simply the incorporation of the cask into the liquid. For example, in many cases years of battering by the sea wind alters the flavour. I'm not sure you could use the same method to quicken all the various processes at the same rate.

What's the market, anyway? I'm not sure ageing adds much on to the cost: a decent single malt of 10 or 12 years is roughly comparable in price to an unaged mid-shelf vodka. Whisky lovers will likely snub it, after the novelty wears off, and casual drinkers will continue to head straight for a decent blend.

#3: That "smile mirror" looks really big and unwieldy. I am pretty sure it would be easy to develop a smartphone app that does the same thing with the face-recognition software that is already in most phones.

#5 Red China's hold on America's life gets stronger and stronger. America surrenders without firing a shot.

You got it backwards...

Shot fired. Out with surrendering America. Stronger and stronger gets life. America is on hold in China's red.

Kinda like playing a record backwards. All kinds of scratchy devil music.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2237717/Red-Dawn-remake-swapped-Chinese-flags-insignia-North-Korean-ones-fear-losing-billion-dollar-box-office.html

Americans can't even criticize Red China anymore. Even the most jingoist kind of film can criticize China anymore. Can you inagine if the original Red Dawn or Amerika had replaced the Soviet Union with Benin or Mongolia or another irrelevnt Communist state? Republican would be attacking godless Hollywood, but now... Republicans sold out, too. Americans worship the Almighty Dollar. No one believes America will stand up to the their Chinese paymasters.

Such is life in Trump's America: http://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/2000/03/06

It was Trump's America in 2000?

It is getting clearer and clearer than Trump and his ethos - money is everything - has an unbreakable hold on America's soul. After the Republicans fell for this "Cuba bad, China good" trick, it was clear they would end up selling their souls, hence Trump and all the rest. What used to be satire, is, now, reality: a Trump presidency.

Evidently, I have heard of Mr. Trudeau before (note: not the Canadian prime-minister, not the other Canadian prime-minester either, the cartoonist), particularly his comment about Mr. Jagger and Mrs.Trudeau (not his wife, the wife of one of the prime-ministers and mother of the other), but reading his work has shown that America is much more corrupt and has been corrupt for much more time than I have ever imagined. Everything is for sale. America has no statesmen, only rabid gangs trying to loot the entire country.

Someone sane posting here.

Thanks.

Just a weird situation. The property is next door to Princeton High, and a few blocks from the University.

It likely isn't zoned residential, and would be hard to develop. I doubt that's their play.

So are they going to keep running a choir college? I doubt that too.

I'm guessing they will convert it to a Chinese prep school geared towards aiding elites with getting into American colleges.

It would be nice if Princeton High could buy a building or two, as they are currently overcrowded, but that's probably not happening.

#1: "three types of collectivist societies: 19th century American utopian communes, Hutterite colonies of South Dakota (USA), and Israeli kibbutzim". Is a conclusion based on three groups of zealot ideologues going to be general?

3. On Tuesday I accused Cowen of putting a smiley face on the Republicans' tax proposal. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/11/republican-tax-plan-lead-bipartisan-results.html#comments Which is less funny, cancer or the Republicans' tax proposal? I suppose it depends on whether one is directly affected by one or the other.

While you never try for it, your posts are usually pretty funny. Ray. Don't sell yourself short.

Author of #4 seeks to "un-pack" the Clinton / Uranium rumors / allegations. Then completely fails to explore the contributions to the Clinton foundation and the timing or rationale for such contributions. Issue still seems pretty packed to me.

It explains why the dots don't connect.

From the first paragraph:

"I focus exclusively on the transfer and the U.S. government's approval of it. I am not, in this post, considering the evidence—such as it is—of donations to the Clinton Foundation. My reasoning is simple: if there is no "quo" to be given, the question of a "quid" is moot/"

I think he makes an airtight case for there being no "quo".

He also seems to believe that HRC was not involved in the sale decision at any level. Well, fair enough ... that should be easy to confirm or disconfirm: was she or was she not?

From the article: "Still, it is fair to say that the degree of scrutiny of this transaction seems less than the 2009 proposed purchase of a gold mine by Chinese interests—which was ultimately withdrawn in light of CFIUS objections."

So no gold for the Chinese, but uranium for Russia is OK? Only thing missing is a half million dollar check for Bill.
State should have objected, and by no doing so led the other agencies to assume it was OK.

WTF does Bill have to do with either one? If Lawfare can't connect the dots, you do it, in detail.

I suspect it comes down to the Clintons and their foundation being successful. It becomes important for right wing nut jobs to deny their success. To make success itself evil.

People love the Clintons and their foundation, that is enough for it to be intolerable.

"WTF does Bill have to do with either one?"

Do you actually live in a world where the husband of the Secretary of State getting a $500,000 check (from a Russian bank that was promoting Uranium One stock) does not illicit questions?

"Bill Clinton did receive $500,000 to deliver a speech at a Russian bank that was promoting Uranium One stock, according to The New York Times, and the company’s chairman donated $2.35 million to the foundation in four installments as Uranium One was being acquired by Rosatum between 2009 and 2013.

All told, $145 million went to the Clinton Foundation from those linked to Uranium One and UrAsia, but it went to the charity organization and not the Clinton family. Furthermore, most of those donations occurred before and during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, according to The Post."

http://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-clintons-russia-trump-688592

"Do you actually live in a world where the husband of the Secretary of State getting a $500,000 check (from a Russian bank that was promoting Uranium One stock) does not illicit questions?"

I live in a world where plenty of knuckleheads pay far more than $500k for all sorts of things.

Someone paid $17.8M for Paul Neuman's watch for God's sake.

Good thing Hillary wasn't the seller, or you'd be soiling yourself.

By the way, if "charities are bad" shouldn't we cancel the tax deduction?

For the umpteen billionth time - no uranium for Russia. Not a milligram.

Where does the uranium go after it hits Europe?

A Belated Happy Anniversary Of Hillary Being Denied Her Turn At The Presidency!

That's why it's called "lawfare."

America is fortunate that Hillary lost in 2016 because she is to ill too remember the crimes she forgot she committed.

You said something redundant by saying it twice

That's because I'm so old I remember the two times Hillary ran for President.

Hillary lost in 2016, so the same strategies can never lose.

Do me a favor. Believe that, and never change.

I thought it was a comedy skit. The author stated "if there is no "quo" to be given, the question of a "quid" is moot.) He saw no "quo"! Funny! Everyone else with more than two brain cells can see it but not this author. IMHO we have just scratched the surface on this scam. I expect to discover that some of that yellow cake went to Iran and NK. I expect to see a LOT more quo than the mere $145 million that we know the Clinton's got. This was treason; Bill and Hillary are the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg of the 21st century.

So can you show us the quo?

4 so it is legal to have dealings with Russians, even those connected to The Kremlin.

Lol, it is legal to have legal dealings, yes.

Are you sure? Because from the media reporting and social media postings I see, it seems like if you're one person, getting $500,000 from Russian bankers is completely legit, whereas selling the same Russian bankers a yacht or apartment is SCCCCCARRRRRY.

Depends if the banker giving or buying is covered by Executive Order 13662. More information here - https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/faq_other.aspx#ukraine

That is true too. What was legal in one year was not necessarily legal in another.

I don't see much in the real estate stories either. They are usually told with buy and sell prices, but without dates. There was at least one real estate boom and bust in there which could make a difference.

If I bought in 2000, yeah I would expect a lot more from you in 2005.

6. We all listen to music, watch movies, with lossy compression. The algorithmic standards were designed for "expert" listeners and viewers.

If the chemistry of fast whiskey satisfies "expert" tasters, I guess I should accept it on the same basis.

Perhaps true whiskey is best accompanied by a symphony on vinyl.

#7) "When schools earn income from enterprises unrelated to their core educational missions, they can be required to pay a tax that was intended to prevent nonprofits from competing unfairly with for-profit businesses....Establishing another corporate layer between private equity funds and endowments effectively blocks any taxable income from flowing to the endowments"

The article may be referring to unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) blockers. These schools are not actually operating for-profit businesses. They are passive investors in partnerships but, because partnerships pass through income to investors, the income would be treated as if the universities did earn it by operating the businesses. The offshore blockers allow the universities to treat the income as the investment income that it actually is. This is the opposite of a loophole: a tax maneuver that actually results in the "correct" treatment by avoiding unintended consequences.

The story here is that complex tax laws and regulations often impose negative consequences but, occasionally, individuals and non-government entities are able to find workarounds on their own. Uber is one success story of getting around the taxi cartel created by the medallion system. This is a second success story.

Demonstrate that the Universities are passive.

These are limited partnership interests in private equity funds that in turn own businesses. The tax is often related to the use of leverage, which would create UBTI but for the blocker.

6. I'm surprised there hasn't been a huge spike in the price for vintage California wines. I've read (and heard from several knowledgeable sources) that the smoke not only damaged the fruit on the vines but the juice in the barrels. Maybe the aging techniques (i.e., accelerating) that the vintners have developed may help explain it. I'd collect more bottles of wine now but I can't find a way to keep the wine elves from my house. For those who aren't familiar with the wine elves, they come late at night, drink all the wine, and leave the corks. I've got more corks than one can imagine, the wine elves have come to my house so often, the little devils.

4. I am curious. How many knew the dots didn't connect, going way back, but said "uranium" to annoy "the other side?"

You may fess up below, but it is really enough if you mend your ways.

Truth matters in a democracy.

Your constant sanctimonious prattle about "truth" is evidence that you're more interested in scolding people than in the actual pursuit of truth.

And yet you offer no concrete correction, no fact based argument, no better or improved truth.

Only personal attack.

Re: 7

Tax exempt entities (including your IRA and 401(k) investments) are exempt on portfolio investment income, but not what is considered "Unrelated Business Taxable Income" (UBTI). See, IRC sections 511-514. Generally, there are two types of situations that will trigger UBTI: 1) Using leverage (debt) to finance your investment; or 2) engaging in a "trade or business" (as distinguished from "investing"). These rules are designed to protect taxable persons from unfair competition from exempts. Using a "blocker" to invest in a US trade or business doesn't make sense because that (non-tax-exempt entity) would be subject itself to tax. But, using a blocker to invest abroad can indirectly allow say, an endowment fund, to participate in leveraged investments or what would otherwise be considered a "trade or business" (e.g., a "dealer" in real estate rather than an "investor".) The Code contains look-through rules that apply to partnerships, but not to corporations.

I would have thought the easier "fix" (if one is needed) to the issue would have simply been to adopt a stricter "look-through" rule for tax-exempts for purposes of the UBTI rules (prevalent in other areas of the tax code) that would "look-through" corporate blockers as if they were partnerships.

I also thought it typical of the NYT to write an article that was rather short on the tax facts, but strongly suggesting something really nefarious, that opens up with the mention of an investment fund run by "a close friend of George Bush" who appears to be solicting endowment fund investors. A cheap smear by innuendo and association.

I would have thought it just as appropriate, if even more so, to mention one of the largest endowment funds, Harvard University, previously overseen (ultimately) by no other than Harvard University President Larry Summers, "close friend and former colleague of Barack Obama". A little research would reveal extensive use of "blockers" under his watch. Etc. Etc.

Thanks for shedding light on tax issues, here and the last few weeks!

4. "Uranium One's licenses are for mining and extraction, not for export. This makes the claim that we "gave away" 20% of America's uranium fairly hyperbolic. The expectation, in light of the NRC's assessment, would have been that the uranium mined would be marketed in America (with the profits going to Russia)."

If the uranium mined and extracted must be marketed within the US, what can happen to it after it leaves the possession of Uranium One? Is it possible for the new owner to export it? Uranium is a fungible commodity. Can the Uranium One product be offset by uranium in Australia or South Africa? If there was no quid pro quo evidently the Russians just held so much esteem for Mrs. Bill Clinton that they felt compelled to give her a very large sum of money.

It did get exported.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/358339-uranium-one-deal-led-to-some-exports-to-europe-memos-show

Is there a shortage of uranium or something?

“Uranium One’s licenses are for mining and extraction, not for export. "

No, but it makes the above comment from the article seem to be pretty disingenuous.

"pretty disingenuous"

Reading comprehension. The phrase "The expectation, in light of the NRC’s assessment, would have been.." implicitly acknowledges the possibility of outcomes outside expectations.

The fungibility of uranium does not depend on who owns a particular mine.

byomtov November 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm
For the umpteen billionth time – no uranium for Russia. Not a milligram.

lolz

> 4. A useful uranium/HRC explainer.

Useful as an illustration of how reserved, understated, and legalistic the liberal goons can be when they want to cut someone maximal slack.

Guy, do you honestly believe only the liberal goons do this, and not the conservative ones too when it's one of theirs?

"Guy, do you honestly believe only the liberal goons do this, and not the conservative ones too when it’s one of theirs?"

I don't see that as the key.

When networks met humans, the first generation joke was "someone is wrong on the internet." The first generation response was to try to fight it out. This produced a few truths, but many people just fragmented into insular groups, with the ability to believe their own b.s.

Places like MR are intersections between such groups, with their own dynamics. This thing where Tyler links a reasonable truth, and "members" deny it is a pretty good case in point.

This seems to be peaking now 2016-2017 with "fake news" first as an analysis and then "fake news" as just a valueless insult. In late 2017 everyone seems confused about what truth is, and how or if social networks should try to encourage it.

We have the related comedy today of Twitter "verifying" a "Nazi" and then backing off with some confused explanations of what "verified" on their platform is supposed to mean.

What is truth, indeed.

Yeah, Pontius didn't get a straight answer either

Guy, do you honestly believe only the liberal goons do this, and not the conservative ones too when it’s one of theirs?"

Nope, conservatives are just as bad. On the other hand, if Trump were involved in the Uranium transaction to the same degree that Clinton was, this story would be major news.

Lol, no.

Not when there are actual criminal charges in play on other things.

Only charges are for a short timer in Trump's campaign that may have broken the law back when he work for Podesta. lol you really got Trump there.

Why does virtually all corruption lead back to the democrats? Like monkeys trying to fling poo, but only hitting themselves.

This. Both sides' goons do this.

Say no to goons!

(Meant seriously.)

You seriously read the link, and classified it as "goon" not "truth?"

The definition of a "centrist" should not be to avoid everything challenging and say "look how superior I am to believe nothing."

> You seriously read the link, and classified it as “goon” not “truth?”

Right-wing goons act like goons. Whereas left wing goons can show up either at an Antifa rally or at an academic legal blog.

Goons gonna goon, but it is entirely a failure on your part to stop at the site and not parse the content.

I mean seriously, do you have so little respect for Tyler and MR that you think they are just linking to "a left wing site" and not trying to communicate a truth?

> I mean seriously, do you have so little respect for Tyler and MR that you think they are just linking to “a left wing site” and not trying to communicate a truth?

Tyler wrote that the explainer was useful. That doesn't mean that he thinks it is fair or correct.

6. "As global whisky consumption continues to rise, could these new ageing techniques be the answer to protecting supply? Or are the claims too good to be true?"

Or is marketing of whisky (and other liquor) more about image and other intangibles than about any actual qualities (other than ethanol content and color) it may have?

Besides, authenticity sells: even if the stuff is the same, just knowing it was in an oak barrel for ten years makes it worth more. Doesn't it?

And the attractiveness of the bottle and label increase value as well. How much does it really matter what's inside that bottle?

Don't you have whiskey confused with olive oil? Maybe not.

+1

Just thought I'd check HuffPo. So Roy Moore is a "probable predator" and Louis C.K. has been "accused of sexual misconduct". Without knowing anything about these people you should know who votes Republican and who votes Democrat.

Just thought I'd check Breitbart. So Harvey Weinstein is a "predatory monster" and Bill O'Reilly has been "accused of sexual misconduct". Without knowing anything about yadda yadda yadda...

If the facts have a "liberal bias" then why does the liberal media have to play the same games as Breitbart? What is probably more hypocritical is the HuffPo comment section on the Rand Paul assault article and the Roy Moore article. One of them involved victim blaming, I'll let you guess which one.

It's not hypocrisy, it's partisanship. I guess they are kind of related. But both sides do it.

You know, starting about 2 years ago, people who should have known better started talking about "moral preening" and "value signaling."

That was a signal alright, that they were giving up both morals and values.

https://twitter.com/GuardianRover/status/928775578458636289

Rock bottom.

He was saying the 17 and 18 yr olds were consensual obviously. There would be nothing illegal there. You can debate whether creepy of course.

You should try getting on the right side of a moral question, for the variety at least.

Example:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453610/roy-moore-sexual-misconduct-allegations-shouldnt-be-dismissed-conservatives

Examples:

https://twitter.com/MittRomney/status/928999549376528385

Of course he is going to say that.what the duck else is he going to say?

The age of the alleged victims is the distinguishing factor. Louis Cardinals isn't accused of diddling underage girls

Louis C.K.

2. Just do what America does and send robots to mars instead. Then if you do want to send humans for some reason you can send them fast as they won't need to take mission payload with them because it will have been taken care of by robotic missions. This includes construction of a functioning and safe habitat.

This is why I don't understand Elon Musk's plan. It front loads colonization of mars with useless squishies that can die easily and give the whole deal bad publicity instead of first sending robots that are actually capable of getting stuff done and setting things up so when their meat masters arrive they will be much more likely to remain warm and wet inside instead of becoming irradiated freeze-dried husks.

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