Also, at this rate, we might as well have a bot that automatically submits Matt Levine's column to HN!
Which means I think I need to work on my own attention span.
However while an intern there I heard a story that Patrick Byrne locked a team of engineers in a room and didn't let them out until they implemented bitcoin payments into Overstock. Do you happen to know if this story is true? I remember at the time that made Overstock one of the first bigger mainstream websites to support Bitcoin.
He loved talking about "throwing a bunch of engineers in a room for a couple days and shoving pizza under the door periodically" for that implementation, and they basically did do that, but it was nothing more intense than a normal crunch time overnighter or like a hackathon, and of course they could've gone home if they wanted to. I knew them and most of them were pretty stoked on the project so they kinda wanted to do that anyway, and got a hell of a bonus for it too (and promotions, lots of them).
Everyone was drinking and laughing or whatever, I think he estimated a handful people were there, and suddenly Patrick gets a notification on his phone and starts freaking out, saying someone was coming onto the property, specifically one of the "men in black" Feds you hear him refer to. Apparently he had people watching cameras around his property for any "suspicious activity," and there were reasons for him to fear for his life over it.
He pushes a button and his house shuts down like one of those movies where metal sheets go over all the windows, code red alarm, and literally a gun room opens up. He grabs a bunch of "Halo-style guns" (source's words) and passes them around to the other people in the room, whispering about hiding and waiting it out or they'll have to fight.
Hours went by without more incident other than everyone freaking out for a while and I think they started partying again or passing out.
People didn't used to believe me when I told them he was like this!
(found via his pinned profile tweet)
> The crypto is stored in the place where all crypto is stored: in mathematical mist, behind long keys held only in the memory of someone who is quite good at storing such things in memory (with paper backups in the hands of a priest I met 35 years ago who never sets foot in the West).
That could be pretty bad news for the priest, whose identity and whereabouts could surely be ascertained by a sufficiently motivated criminal actor, and it sounds like there are tens of millions of motivational units in play.
But unless he's been getting seriously technical, that's unlikely.
How soon until Overstock throws Byrnes under the bus too? They made the decision to make the dividend tradable day 1, after Byrnes left, as more sane leadership took control.
Also, Adam Neumann took out a ton of private loans using private We stock as collateral. What happens if the IPO busts?
His language and mannerisms remind me of a high functioning paranoid.
He also just doesn't strike me as a criminal operator, more of a lunatic.
I wonder what impact the mental capacity has on SEC charges?
I think a fair number of CEOs would love to see this work.
He's giving away way too much information here. Maybe it's all false, in which case that's sort of ok, but he really needs to learn how to just STFU.
Now, does the share price going down hurt a company? Somewhat, in that it's equity is less attractive so hiring people with options etc is going to be more expensive (people will value cash more) as will fundraising. Things like acquisitions become harder and more expensive too. But it honestly doesn't affect the company to the extent that would justify the obsessive attention that some CEOs seem to give it.
That all being said the classical view is that short sellers facilitate liquidity in a stock for when people want to buy and overall this should reduce volatility.
All of the above is assuming no market manipulation by the short seller (eg spreading malicious falsehoods about a company in an attempt to drive the share price down). This is something that is often alleged, but when you look at CEOs who say this, they frequently have the opposite tendency to positively spin things in order to send the stock price up.
"Really! Warren Buffett is somehow involved! Byrne blogged about it, on his blog, which is called DeepCapture.com."
(Quoted from his own blog post:) "The proximate cause of his decision to sell, however, came when we heard over the weekend that starting last Friday, the Deep State’s pets at the SEC began leaking something to their clients JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman (and here as citizens I bet you thought we were their clients, right? lol). They leaked that they were going to Bazoomba our digital dividend. Once that started getting back to me, I realized this: Whenever I have had any question about whether the SEC would or would not do something totally outrageous in order to hurt our company to benefit their clients on Wall Street, they never let me down: they always did the evil thing. So Pettway decided it was time to eject., especially because he knows I need the ammo to go to war against the Deep State."
I hope he gets the mental help he needs to get better.
It does sound weird, but on what basis can you or I claim to be better informed about that situation than he is?
That not every public sector worker is replaced every four years is quite ok, it's how things continue to function over time.
If you use the phrase "deep state" to describe "functioning government" you are adopting the language of nutjobs and either are one or deserve to be called out as such.
It's also far from a monolithic group of people with a similar point of view.
And, because of that implicit endorsement of non-partisanship as "how the job gets done", these bureaucrats tend to also be considered technocrats: people who evaluate policy mostly on how the ROI works out for "the people" or "the state", rather than in how it figures into any particular political narrative, or into their own "courtly favour" with the administration.
The label of "technocrat" then tends to put the workers of this bureaucracy into natural opposition—political-rhetoric-wise—with populist politicians, who as a rule evaluate policy by how it "plays" with the man-on-the-street (who has no knowledge of statecraft), and who tend to ignore what a policy will (or won't) actually be likely to accomplish. This opposition carries whether any given bureaucrat has any actual underlying opposition to the current populist sentiment or not.
So there's at least one other thing these bureaucrats will tend to agree on: to the degree that there is, in a political "era", a populist fervour in the country, bureaucrats will be unilaterally hated by the man on the street, due to the rhetorical manipulations of populist politicians.
Most bureaucrats and technocrats are just like any other human beings: often partisan, selfish and not decisively more able to distinguish a "good" decision from a bad one.
At best statecraft is the ultimate field for The Iron Law of Bureaucracy
The word "bureaucrat" is just a catchall term for the people who work for the government and can't possibly be important or decent people because they don't occupy any mental space in your head.
"People who work for the government" are "civil servants" (or "public servants")
A bureaucrat is a member of an "administrative system governing a large institution".
Each civil servant has some power when it comes to do what/how he wants to. On this behalf bureaucrats and (even more) technocrats are among the most powerful.
A soldier must obey (nearly) blindly, becoming a mere instrument for brass. Brass bureaucrats/technocrats have their own political agenda, and many adjust their actions accordingly.
> police officers
Most aren't bureaucrats. Theoretically they enforce laws, even if they don't agree with them. In practice many adjust their actions according to their own political agenda.
Most aren't bureaucrats. Many teach according to their own political agenda, or just guard while repeating state propaganda.
Most aren't bureaucrats/technocrats. Moreover their field is not politically-loaded (nearly everyone agrees about what they have to do, and how).
Because it clearly doesn't just refer to common government workers that exist across multiple administrations.
It's the massively powerful leadership groups, political cliques, that influence agencies from the DOJ to Homeland to the FBI to NSA to CIA to the Pentagon and each military branch, and so on. They hand off ideological batons and pursue agendas across decades.
One example is the Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz crew that wielded power across decades (approximately ~40 years), numerous presidencies, and various roles in and out of government. They're the Deep State personified. The Bush family was an integral part of enabling that clique although they float above it rather than swimming down in the muck where the political schemes are fleshed out (like deciding to invade Iraq and topple Saddam at some point in the future, back in 1991, as Wolfowitz & Co. did). They're able to pursue political agendas in and out of roles, through influence and connections in the government and private sector. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were able to wait out the Clinton Presidency (which was only interested in no-fly zones and sanctions in Iraq) and then finally pursue their Iraq invasion with the friendly George W Bush admin. That's the sort of big ideological pursuit and time carry that only powerful pieces of the Deep State can successfully pull off.
The problem with using it is it has a default positive sound to it. “Civil servants” are probably working to do good, no matter the political winds.
While those in the “deep state,” these folks are agenda driven and not trying to benefit the average American.
Thus, it is hard to vilify civil servants.
"Working to do good" is an interesting phrase because it begs the question: Who's good?
Is it the citizen's good? There's not a reasonable way to approach or decide that short of elections (the ultimate form of polling), therefore whoever the citizens have elected should determine the "good."
Or alternatively, it could be their individual good and therefore irrelevant to the citizens and their wishes. In that case, riches, stability, or whatever all fit the bill but are probably counter to the "common good."
Or alternatively, it could be their agency's good and - once again - irrelevant to the citizens and their wishes. As long as the agency goes on an grows, that fits their "good" but may be counter to the "common good."
And unfortunately just declaring "we all know what good is!" doesn't apply when we take just the topics of education, healthcare policy, and the military.
Or to put it another way.. who do "civil servants" serve? If it's not the citizens, then we have a problem.
No. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Unless evidence moves the Bayesian priors, conspiracy theories should be regarded as the garbage they are.
I don't subscribe to the post-truth society.
Such as this person clearly needing "mental help" because they implied collusion/corruption. Nobody asked or expected anyone to believe anything based on their statement, rather we are asked to believe it must be insane to make such a statement.
1) Humans suck at keeping their mouths shut
2) Most conspiracy theories posit excessive competence (itself extremely rare) that somehow defies all the weird things that reality can throw at you and make things fail.
Most "conspiracies" had plenty of evidence even at the time--people chose to ignore it because it benefited them. See: Epstein, Weinstein, Cosby, etc.
So, real conspiracies that people don't know about do exist--but they are tremendously rare.
Can you prove these aren't just crackpot theories? Do you have any primary sources or tangible evidence to support your claims?
How do you go to war with a deep state? What do you do? It sounds like pure delusion
It's like if you are drunk, and you successfully drive your car through an obstacle course. You're still drunk!
It's not a new idea, but the use in the U.S. is pretty new, and has seen seen a resurgence in popularity since Trump — a populist whose campaign was partly based on the premise of a deep state — was elected, partly in thanks to books like "Killing the Deep state" .
There have existed, and there still exist, "true" deep state systems, such as the intelligence services and FSB (and related obligarch axis) in Russia, that we should be wary of. Co-opting the phrase to refer to any permanent bureaucratic structure as a deep state is needlessly reductive (and historically incorrect), and also normalizes something we should consider a dangerous aberration.
It is a conspiracy theory, but it's taken very seriously by the people who use it.
I recommend this  video for some historians' perspective.
Here he is threatening to "vaporize" the SEC if they clean up the fraudulent mess he created:
> Now, after 15 years of being scofflaws, the shorts are crying because they are getting sucked into a black hole they created themselves. If you call “Bazoomba!” for them now, I am going to use this website to vaporize you with information I give the public. I am 100% confident that at least one of you knows to what I am referring.
Every definition of the "deep state" that I've heard is usually based on a vague conspiracy theory or is an obvious truth that draws conclusions about the intentions of state actors without providing any evidence. Can you prove me wrong?
The deep state is a set of individuals who use the powers granted to them by the government in order to further their own power interests and/or the power interests of extra-governmental entities regardless of whether the government and its constituents share in or benefit from those interests.
You can probably name your Senators, maybe your House Member, and probably your local Mayor. You may have even voted for/against them.
What about the Deputy Undersecretary of Whatever who is in charge of that topic near and dear to your heart? You didn't elect them. You can't even name them. In fact, you probably don't even know that job and person exist.
I was in the Department of Justice and worked for a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in an agency you've never heard of just down the street from DOJ HQ. There were many lifers (worked there pushing 20 years) who I saw and heard say "Eh, I don't like the AG so I don't follow that policy."
Fundamentally, it's no different than the CEO of a major company saying "we're going to do X" and various middle managers saying "Nah, that's a bad idea. I'm going to ignore it."
And, oddly, it turns out to be one of the best inventions of modern government as it keeps things running in an orderly fashion in the face of leadership changes.
That really doesn’t make it any more sane to plan a war against a poorly defined adversary, this is a hall mark of delusion. I don’t see why my comment warranted downvotes
It doesn't, really. I think this audience probably has a high representation of people who regard the "deep state" as a real entity that we should fight against and take issue on a personal level with your well-founded claim that the guy is a bit cuckoo
Overall peculiar and fascinating.
"Under the dividend plan revealed July 30, a crypto-payment will be awarded to Overstock shareholders of record as of Sept. 23 on tZero, a blockchain-based trading platform operated by an affiliate of Overstock. The dividends, accessible only through a Dinosaur Financial Group brokerage account, aren’t payable until Nov. 15 and cannot be traded for six months afterward — or May 15, at the earliest."
Dinosaur Financial Group:
"Dinosaur Financial Group is a company of global capital markets experts who operate on the assumption that what you want to do can be done."
You can also read the tZero site, but it reads like every other weirdo ICO token company.