Links 12/24/14

Scientists discover oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Tree Tipping Generates Cash and Seasonal Woes in Maine New York Times

BREAKING: Ex-President George H.W. Bush taken to hospital as ‘precaution’ after shortness of breath Associated Press

Low Oil Prices Pushing Venezuela Towards Default OilPrice

Greeks Used to Years of Chaos Dismiss Samaras’s Warnings of More Bloomberg


Putin has one weapon to protect the rouble — he must use it wisely Financial Times

How Putin Stopped the Ruble’s Collapse Bloomberg

Russia, China mock divide and rule Asia Times (Chuck L)

Ukraine moves closer to Nato bid Financial Times

Sony Gaslighting

Reacting to the Sony Hack Bruce Schneier

Elevator pitch: Slapstick comedy about worst movie ever made becoming box-office smash when it’s hacked by North Korea Will Bunch

Sony to show ‘Interview’ in some cinemas Financial Times. Gawker reports 200 screens v. the 3000 originally slotted (Bloomberg now says 300). But note: Obama hails The Interview screenings BBC. This is cringe-making.


Why Iraq Paid for 50,000 Soldiers Who Didn’t Exist Peter Van Buren, Firedoglake

IS ‘downs coalition plane in Syria’ BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Sony Hack: Clooney Says Movie is about Snowden, Not Journalism Intercept

CIA Torture Report

Torture Without Orders: Hidden in Plain Sight Amnesty USA

Senate report being used to whitewash Obama’s rehabilitation of torture Nafeez Ahmed (Ron A)

A Timeline of CIA Atrocities Steve Kangas (Ron A)

CNN/ORC Poll: Obama ends year on an upswing CNN. Does this mean we can expect him to talk up Pet Foreign Enemy on a regular basis for the rest of his term in office?

So Far, 6.4 Million Obtain Health Care Coverage for 2015 in Federal Marketplace New York Times

U.S. State Department’s Guantanamo envoy resigns Reuters (EM)

Comcast’s lobbying team handed out “priority assistance” cards for faster customer service Vox (Chuck L)

The Official Biggest Losers Of 2014 Huffington Post

Police Overkill

Demonstrators Defy NYC Mayor’s Call to Suspend Police Protests Bloomberg

U.S. to review move not to charge ex-officer in Milwaukee fatal shooting Reuters. EM: “‘Mayor Tom Barrett called for calm protests and said that police officers throughout the U.S. should not be demonized.’ Even if they act like demons? Lost in all the PR-foo here is a discussion of just what ‘grave offense’ Mr. Hamilton had committed in order to justify the attempted arrest. P.S.: In case you’ve not been following this particular story, the answer to the ‘grave offense’ question is ‘sleeping in the park’.”

The Faux “Civility” of “Broken Windows” Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Missouri lawmaker wants investigation of St. Louis County Prosecutor in Ferguson Grand Jury case |Associated Press (EM)

Rolling Stone magazine requests audit of discredited gang rape story Reuters (EM)

US notches up fastest growth in decades Financial Times. 2/3 of the gain came from delayed health care spending. So we can have growth or groaf but still pretend we are bending the health care cost curve?

Oil Freefall

Three Reasons Not to Panic About Oil Prices Texas Monthly. This is the sort of headline that gets written right before the bottom drops out.

You Thought The Saudis Were Kidding? Ilargi

Oil Crash: Don’t Believe the Happy Clatter Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Oil heavyweights differ on catalyst for crude price rebound Financial Times. We pointed out the Harry Hamm v. Saudi divergence yesterday. Hamm has this all wrong. First, the Saudis are bigger than he is. Second, they have a large sovereign wealth fund. They don’t need oil revenues to fund government spending. In fact, Moodys said that the Saudis plus three of the other five major Gulf states could fund spending for several years out of their sovereign wealth funds. And on top of that, the Saudi government has little debt and thus plenty of borrowing capacity. But if this is what the US shale industry is telling itself, they are going to keep pumping until the Saudis crush them.

Bankers Brought Rating Agencies ‘To Their Knees’ On Tobacco Bonds ProPublica (EM)

Class Warfare

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs Economist. From May, still useful.

Elizabeth Warren’s real beef with Antonio Weiss: What her fight against him is actually about Dave Dayen, Salon

Commie commie commie commie commie K-Keynesian Noah Smith

Dear Kids The Awl. While this is suitably upbeat, in an interesting contrarian way, I stil take issue with it. It’s one thing to be beset by external threats. It’s another to see the fabric of your own society being shredded for the mere sake of profit and bad ideology.


Antidote du jour:


And a bonus video (Chuck L). An American alternative to reindeer:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. New Deal democrat

    I just wanted to pass on a note of thanks for your efforts in preparing these links. It is part of my required morning reading, even if some of the articles linked to, like the Martens piece this morning, make me roll my eyes.

    Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2015.

  2. russell1200

    Per your comment on “Dear Kids.” As what you said, and also it is another thing to say that you should not give in to despair, and very much another to take an “all’s well that ends well” approach when we really don’t know the ending. History is full of bad endings, lots and lots of bad endings. Being at the (cutting?) edge of the advance of Western Civilization can tend to distort ones view as to the balance of outcomes.

    1. Ned Ludd

      PBS NewsHour posted an interesting discussion between Ted Fischer, a professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Arthur Demarest, another anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University.

      Arthur Demarest: On the future of the U.S., or of Western civilization in general, I tend to be quite pessimistic. Perhaps that is simply because “collapse” is what I do. As an archaeologist, I have excavated single trenches, just a few meters deep, in which you can see stratigraphic levels of several civilizations. We find layers of artifacts and evidence indicating periods of great prosperity, but always separated by levels of burned earth, ash and artifacts that reflect the epochs of social disintegration, chaos and tragedy that seem to conclude the achievements and aspirations of every society.

      With that caveat about my gloomy perspective, I would say that today I see most of the symptoms of societies on the brink of collapse, not just in the U.S., but in the tightly interconnected societies of Western civilization – now essentially world civilization. […]

      The surprising, seemingly contradictory, truth is that most civilizations do not meet their end after a slow decline and do not collapse because of late developing “weaknesses.” The ample record of failed societies chronicles systems at their peak of success, then rapidly disintegrating.

      1. Banger

        A crude rule of thumb concerning the collapse of civilization is that success can weaken the foundations of what them there in the first place. I think, however, we have to see that this may not be the case with large empires. The Roman Empire declined very slowly over a couple of centuries and the Ottomans declined over a century. On the other hand the British Empire declined very quickly. Today’s American-based global Empire seems pretty robust and much more complex than ancient civilizations. The Achilles heel for our society is the environment–indeed many cultures disintegrated through a major change in weather patterns or their own careless use of their environment.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I fear you forgot one place our Empire is very vulnerable and becoming more so — all the outsourcing and consolidation of industries results in an extremely fragile extended supply chains supporting far too many of our products. Key components come from single sources scattered around the globe. For example, an earthquake in Taiwan in 1999 shut down production in numerous US firms using the IC chips made in Taiwan. Two factories in Taiwan, both located in the same industrial park, are the sole source for many widely used IC chips. [ref. “The End of the Line”, Barry Lynn, pp. 1-3]

          Disaster, labor strikes, or unrest can shut down production at facilities all around the world. Just-in-time parts inventories help make the system even more fragile. Our complexity has not made us more robust.

          1. different clue

            The people who did the outsourcing don’t care about that. They have some of their wealth beyond the reach of the American Collapse you describe and some of their wealth
            in places and forms they believe to be immune to that collapse’s effects. As Moyers pointed out in his Dark Shadows over Central Park broadcast, they are all Global Citizens of a Conquered Planet now.

            Some elements of the Bush family, maybe Dubya himself, bought a 120,000 acre ranch in Paraguay some years ago. What do the Bushes care what happens in America? They’ve got a new place ready to recieve them and renew the cycle of family dynasty wealth and power.

      2. Paul Niemi

        The sudden decline of civilizations can be attributed to the lust for war. Here is the poet Virgil, circa 29 BC:

        Let not this young man fail to rescue us,
        To rescue the torn world! . . . So many wars,
        So many kinds of wickedness! No honor
        Rendered the plow, but the fields gone to ruin,
        Countryfolk made homeless, and their scythes
        Beaten to straight swords on the blowing forge!
        War from the Euphrates to Germany,
        Ruptured engagements, violence of nations,
        Impious Mars raging the whole world over . . .

    2. McMike

      While the 1940 reflection was of an external world on the brink of collapse (the scale of destiny), this thought arrived on the heels of the first World War, the Spanish Flu, the second Gilded Age, Prohibition, the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression. Wondering about kids was indeed entirely reasonable then, as it is now.

      But we are reminded often, something is always collapsing somewhere. And history rhymes with itself quite closely. Humans persist because some of them keep making babies anyway. Even if there is no food to eat, or they are being marched from their homelands by their captors, or the volcano is rumbling.

      I have young kids, and worry quite a bit what to teach them, how to teach them, and what not to teach them. I was a late baby boom child raised on the myths, raised in the suburban prosperity and security bubble. We had a period of unemployment for my dad in the 1970s. But I was raised ignorant of the cultural upheavals all around, the police riots, the war on poverty, the anti-authoritarianism, the loss of the south, and of the urban decay that became overt with the killing of King. My childhood was idyllic, comparatively historically, I think, and my schooling the conventional history of a story written and whitewashed by the victors. I was taught also, particularly this time of year, that we humans, as a class, are greedy, and rotten, and wicked as hell, but that redemption is possible nonetheless.

      My innocence was popped later. I came of age around the time that Iran took our people hostage, and Regan introduced, or heralded, an era of new meanness to us. I discovered Vonnegut and Thompson. Then, later, when Bush Senior was introducing us to modern war propaganda, I discovered Zinn and Chomsky. I learned to unlearn the many layers of myths and self-serving lies and partial truths that were heaped upon us. That was then.

      Now I read with detached interest as more and more people talk about structural economic unfairness, chronic sociopathic corporate criminality, systemic police brutality, parabolic environmental degradation, oligarchic security state government oppression and sanctioned violence… as if any of it is new.

      It is new only in the way that this year’s Bindweed growth was new.

      So I worry what to teach them. I don’t want to teach them that everything is lies. That the bullies and creeps and criminals have taken over. Interestingly, there were generations that were taught exactly that (and as Ferguson reminds us, still so). So my clinging to my own childhood myths may be apparent here.

      I look to the words of Buddha, and Jesus. As well as Wendell Berry, and many others who have pondered this.

      I don’t have the answer. Right now, my kids are in their own bubble. No news, no media, no Hollywood and TV violence and contrived drama. No video games. No fear (there has been no Stranger Danger boogieman, just training in self-advocacy). None of their daddy’s incessantly cynical droning. We are not a family that talks politics or Marxism around the table To the extent possible, they are still kids, and a kid’s job, we think, is to play. And be showered by love.

      Paul Shepard (and I think also Rudolph Steiner) believed that we should let kids be kids for a while. Shepard talked about age 12 as the appropriate time to introduce abstractions. Age 12. Think about that, these days by age 12 many kids are already practiced in world-weary cynicism and ironic detachment. (and yes, many turn out fine anyway).

      We have taught them that, mainly in reaction to specific events, that some people are mean, some people don’t or can’t put the same effort into being a good person as we wish. That’s as far as it’s gone so far.

      But that phase is coming to an end (the bubble part, not the love part). They are practicing active shooter drills at school, complete with armed cops. Many of their peers are immersed in the global news and the brutal video games and movies. Not sure yet how we ease them into the complex, contradictory, sometimes ugly world we live in. But that transition must be made. They need to see the whole world.

      Back to Buddha, and Jesus. His challenge to us was to find the eternal, universal peace, joy, wonder, and love amongst whatever wherever you are. Whether your struggle is external to your culture, internal to your culture, or internal to yourself, the peace is found wherever you are. We can find comfort that no matter where we walk, the path has been worn before us.

      Or as another reflective thinker of pastoral thoughts in the face of cultural decay said: “To know and to serve God, of course, is why we’re here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through. What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. What is the last word, then? Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.”

      1. TheraP

        What you’ve written is so beautiful. Thank you! Yes, let your kids be kids. Life will intrude, but some of it will also be full of goodness. For a long time I’ve consoled myself with the thought of “pockets of goodness in the universe” – people quietly doing good, mostly unsung.

        Two stray thoughts. One is something Ghandi learned. He tried to inculcate non-violence in children in his ashrams. But he found, concluded might be a better word, that children first need to “own” (experience, make use of) their own aggression. And that only when we can own/acknowledge our aggression can we then decide/take steps to let go of it.

        The other is a blog (an experience from long ago) – that connects up what Jesus and the Buddha must have conveyed:

        You are teaching far more by who you are. And who you are sines through what you’ve written. Your children will absorb that. And make the world a better place… Peace be with you.

      2. tawal

        Thank you McMike. I am your age mate but started my family a bit earlier. My wake up call was 911, as I watched it live waiting to take my last born to the road test.
        Blessings to you and your loved ones.
        Respect, tawal

    3. jrs

      If it was merely human problems (wars and oppression) they have long existed. But what if we’ve torn the threads of the ecosystem and messed up the basic life support system including the stability of the climate so badly it will soon no longer support life or at least human life, and we’re looking at near term human extinction? We’ve never been here before.

  3. Adam1

    Wow! The Martens piece peaked my curiosity. If you check out the commodities price index data from the IMF ( you’ll notice that non-energy prices began a pretty steady decline about 6 months before energy’s fall. And if you dig into the monthly data (downloadable from the same page) you’ll notice industrial commodity inputs have been on a steady decline since sometime in 2013. The only thing masking this deflationary force has been energy prices and now they’re catching up. The real question is will it level off or continue to accelerate?!?!

  4. Ned Ludd

    Why I *still* dont think it’s likely that North Korea hacked Sony.

    A followup post by the Principal Security Researcher at CloudFlare, Inc., who was previously part of the GSMA security group. He demonstrates how much hand-waving is in the FBI evidence. For example, here are the IP addresses that the FBI says indicate North Korea involvement.

    • – Thailand
    • – Poland
    • – Italy
    • – Bolivia
    • – Singapore
    • – Cyprus
    • – USA

    “With the exception of the US address, which appears to belong to a company based in NY, all of these appear to be addresses of known proxys open to the public.”

    1. Banger

      It’s hard to tell who did what–but what I do know is that the USG doesn’t traffic in evidence–they just make assertions and the public and media swallow it 100% despite the Lucy/Charley Brown syndrome.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Skepticism is met with USG talking points, and debunking the talking points gets you smeared as a “conspiracy theorist” or supporter of whatever government the USG is currently destabilizing.

    2. hunkerdown

      Some rando from an “Internet security firm” seems to think it was an inside job, according to MoA. As someone said, it “fits the pattern”…

    3. hunkerdown

      The FBI/NSA, having the sort of visibility enabled by a “privileged network position”, can correlate proxy/relay traffic by time and have a pretty good chance of knowing whence the flows of packets originated — especially if they’re downloading gigabytes of one company’s crown jewels. Of course, the existence of that capability is classified, so it’s a convenient smokescreen for a convenient two-minute hate, and probably a good excuse for the soft-fascist Administration to soothe their ouchy with some trade-agreement balm.

    1. optimader

      BREAKING: Ex-President George H.W. Bush taken to hospital as ‘precaution’ after shortness of breath
      No disrespect but ……
      His peeps just broke the news to him on what the Carlyle International Energy Investment Team did ?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Key paragraphs from the Pro Publica article on tobacco bonds:

    After 2008, the market for tobacco bonds collapsed with the broader economy. Prices nosedived, too, especially for the long-dated CABs (Capital Appreciation Bonds).

    Downgrades ensued as cigarette sales slid more than expected. A big federal tax increase on cigarettes, announced in 2009, had dashed those expectations, and soon prompted the rating agencies to retool their criteria, too.

    Fitch has downgraded Ohio’s CABs five times since they were issued. They are now considered highly speculative. S&P has also lowered ratings on its CABs to junk territory.

    As the article points out, tobacco bonds resulted from a settlement negotiated by Joel Klein, who headed the Justice Department’s antitrust division in the Clinton Administration. “He warrants the nation’s gratitude,” gushed a New York Times editorial. “He will depart government with the kind of halo that most lawyers only dream about,” eulogized David Ignatius in the Washington Post, adding that Klein “helped reinvent antitrust law for the 21st century.”

    Unfortunately, Klein’s vision of cozy, static cartel serving a captive customer base was all wrong. For one thing, tax-hell states such as New York hiked their tobacco taxes to confiscatory levels, setting off a downward spiral of lower sales volumes and still higher taxes to compensate. Moreover, smokers weren’t going to just stand still and get sheared with astronomical costs for simple little tobacco sticks that cost 5 cents to make. Alternative nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigs moved in, grabbing market share.

    Nice to see Klein’s sordid, statist extortion scheme crash and burn. His naked shakedown gives antitrust enforcement a bad name. As usual, the MSM’s fulsome praise when the scheme was hatched served as an infallible guide that it would fail.

  6. NotSoSure

    Broken window = people driving into trees = 5% economic growth. It’s that easy!!! We are all overthinking this.

  7. fresno dan

    Despite being known at my former job as the official curmudgeon (a title I accepted gladly – only later did I discover to my surprise it wasn’t intended as praise) and a generally surly, cantankerous, malcontent, grump, sourpuss, grouch, Grinch, PESSIMIST, etcetera, etcetera – I, RELUNTANTLY, post this due to the season:

    1. cwaltz

      Don’t feel bad. I’m a curmudgeon too. Quite frankly with all the crap going on, is it any wonder, one is likely to be surly, cantankerous, malcontent, grumpy, grouchy and pessimistic(I disagree with grinch since I’ve seen no evidence that suggests considering the world is a mess makes one any less or more likely to be a generous soul?)

      I suspect most of us have been around the block and put away the rose colored glasses ages ago.

    2. hunkerdown

      Bah, humbug might not be *quite* so bad, if it were turned *off* between Boxing Day and Thanksgiving, not just down to 7 (from 11).

  8. Jef

    Dear Kids touches on a subject that I am seeing expressed more and more lately. I have talked about it before, the concept that “we can’t know”. It is nothing more than a BS excuse to not have to know and therefore not have to act.

    “The idea that there is anything especially bad about 2014 is temporal narcissism. We just live in an age of countless opinions. We are just starting to get used to it, this idea that we can document everything. We can document it but we can’t begin to interpret or understand it.”

    I agree that there is too much documenting to possibly sift through it all but that is no excuse to dismiss the factual information that is widely disseminated and easily understood. There is a lot that we absolutely CAN know and do know and that is the information that should be repeated over and over again until we reach a level of consensus that will allow for some positive action. Instead we get articles and subsequent comments that only muddle the known facts further making consensus impossible.

    1. cwaltz

      I came away from the article with the feeling that a parent was just putting their meandering and frustration into words. The reality is that unless you are part of the 1% you have a balancing act when you parent(and probably even if you are a 1%er, you probably just have to worry about different things.)You want them to be hopeful but not unrealistic. You want them to work hard but not put all of their efforts into just working. You want them to trust but not get trust to the point they’ll get taken advantage of. You want them to care about their fellow human beings but not be hurt when some of those people call them freaks or a million other hurtful things because you’ve tried to teach them to embrace their individuality. You want to give them enough self esteem to care about themselves but not so much that they forget to care about others too or you make it impossible for them to blend into a world that requires cooperation. You try to protect them while still allowing them to experience things and hopefully gain resilience before you or they leave. If you have more than one you want to treat them equal while still acknowledging they are their own people( How does that even work?) In addition, no one gives you a manual. No one says this child will struggle with self esteem or that one will experience gender dysphoria, prepare yourself ahead of time. You may not realize when you undertake the endevour that you will have to struggle with your own issues whether they be letting go of the idea of perfect or dealing with trust in order to help them be and see the world in a healthy way. It’s really a tough job because there aren’t any manuals to prepare you for the fact that you have a unique, distinct human being to teach with its own set of variables and who will have a always changing world to deal with. Look at me, now I’m meandering. Anyway, I kinda got what the author was saying. Parenting is not for the weak of heart.

    2. jrs

      We can’t know everything about every single story that is a news blip on the radar today, especially as there is SO MUCH disinformation and propaganda – and yes to some degree from all sides. Pick your battles. We can’t be experts on every subject or entirely without bias. We dont’ always have all the information especially in cases where most of the information is classified by our own government. And we can’t know climate science as well as a climate scientist but we can darn well heed what is said. Etc..

      But to know at a deep level is almost indistinguishable with to act because enough certainty will compel it. The fear of being certain of anything is the fear of action.

  9. Banger

    I recommend the David Ignatius column in today’s WaPost about Warren. Ignatius is a very careful writer and I always read his columns because I know who he represents and reading him you know the thinking of those he represents and encounters. Ignatius is deeply embedded within the “liberal” section of the intel community and their associates within gov’t and Wall Street. Ignatius is a nice guy, I’ve had some slight contact with him, but he is deeply embedded within the complex power structure. His critique of Warren is “lite” and polite but, reading between the lines, she is going to be savaged by the power structure. Nowhere in Ignatius’ gloss of Wall Street and its denizen is there any mention of the outrageous crime-wave that caused the collapse and signaled the end of not just equal justice under law but rule of law.

    We’ll see how the whole Warren rebellion plays out and where it resonates–clearly the group I described is worried about Warren–Ignatius tends not to write about domestic political issues.

    1. JEHR

      Are you serious about the author being “careful” and “nice?” Did you not see the weasel words in the article: “jihad”, “devalue”, “hectored”, and “neo-populist”? “President Obama seems embarrassed about taking ownership of his financial rescue effort” should really describe his embarrassment for not putting fraudulent bankers in jail for accounting control fraud (See: )

      1. different clue

        I believe Banger wants us to understand that Ignatius is a porthole into the thinking of one of the more smiley-face kinder-gentler gangs of power-wielders at the center of government, so reading Ignatius will give us a clue as to what the smiley-face kinder-gentlers in power are thinking.

  10. Jethro Bodeen

    Interesting refinement of extractive-industry propaganda up there. Make the 1st comment, in traditional style, but complimentary, with a seemingly offhand swipe at the offending content by the Martens’, on the touchy subject of the oil bust. The old boilerplate runs, “The Martens article is not up to your usual high standards,” but that has evidently gotten too hackneyed. Also the “New Deal Democrat” moniker shows a sincere, if clumsy, effort at pandering. That would be a nice touch, if we were stupider.

    Well, Mr. New Deal Democrat, thanks to you, too, and good luck finding some morons to refinance your shit debt!

  11. rjs

    RE: “US notches up fastest growth in decades. . 2/3 of the gain came from delayed health care spending.”

    i’m sorry, Yves, there’s just no way that can be true…it was a tenth of 3rd quarter GDP and less than half of the upward revision….i dont blame you; everyone, including the WSJ and ZH headlined it care outlays increased at a real rate of 4.6%, so it was actually a small drag on the overall quarterly increase…

    here’s my take on the revisions to PCE:

    real personal consumption expenditures, the largest component of GDP, were revised to show growth at a 3.2% annual rate rather than the 2.2% growth rate reported last month, and hence they contributed 2.21% to the quarter’s growth rate, not the 1.51% previously estimated…real consumption of durable goods grew at a 9.2% rate, revised from the 8.7% growth rate reported in the second estimate, and added .67% to the final GDP figure; major contributors to that were a 15.7% real growth rate in consumption of recreational goods and vehicles and a 11.2% real growth rate in motor vehicle and parts consumption, while real consumption of furnishings and durable household equipment rose slightly and consumption of other durable goods fell, even as all durables consumption benefited from a negative 2.1% deflator…meanwhile, real personal consumption of non-durable goods rose at a 2.5% rate and added 0.39% to GDP, revised from the previous estimate of a 2.2% growth rate, even though inflation adjusted outlays for food and beverages, clothing, and energy goods were virtually unchanged….in addition, real consumption of services grew at an 2.5% rate and added 1.15% to the quarter’s growth, revised from the 1.2% growth rate and 0.53% addition reported in the second estimate last month, as real consumption of financial services and insurance grew at a 7.0% annual rate, real consumption of food and lodging services grew at a 4.9% rate, and real outlays for health care services rose at a 4.6% rate, offsetting a small decrease in real outlays for housing and utilities and while outlays for recreation and other services were flat..

    the links show my math…

    1. rjs

      this is an addition to my comment currently in moderation:
      i’m using the inflation adjusted data from table 3 here, same as the BEA:
      and, for the record, here’s the rest on the GDP revisions:
      seasonally adjusted real gross private domestic investment grew at a 7.2% annual rate in the 3rd quarter, revised from 5.1% estimate last month and the 1.0% growth that was first estimated, as the growth rate of private fixed investment was revised to 7.7% from the 6.2% estimate of last month and thus added 1.21% to the 3rd quarter’s growth rate…real non-residential fixed investment grew at a 8.9% rate, rather than the 7.1% previously estimated, as investment in non-residential structures was revised up from growth at a 1.1% rate to growth at a 4.8% rate, investment in equipment grew at a 11.0% rate, not the 10.7% rate previously reported, and the quarter’s investment in intellectual property products was revised from a growth rate of 6.4% to a 8.8% growth rate, while growth in residential investment was revised from 2.7% to 3.2%…after these revisions, investment in non-residential structures added 0.14% to the quarter’s growth rate, investment in equipment added 0.63%, investment in intellectual property added 0.34%, while growth in residential investment added 1.0% to 3rd quarter GDP…

      meanwhile, the real (inflation adjusted) change in private inventories was revised from $79.1 billion greater to $82.2 billion greater than the 2nd quarter, when inventories grew by $84.8 billion over the 1st quarter; hence the $2.6 billion negative change in inventory growth was smaller than $5.7 billion change reported last month or the originally reported $22.0 billion decrease, and thus it only subtracted 0.03% from 3rd quarter growth rather than the .14% subtraction applied in the second estimate last month….

      there were also small revisions to our third quarter trade data…3rd quarter exports increased by $23.3 billion, or at a 4.5% annual rate, revised from the increase at a 4.9% rate reported last month, while imports decreased by $5.8 billion, or at a 0.9% rate, revised from the decrease at a 0.7% rate reported in the 2nd estimate…as you should recall, exports add to gross domestic product because they represent that part of our production that was not consumed or added to investment in our country, while imports subtract from GDP because they represent either consumption or investment that was not produced here…thus the smaller increase in real exports added 0.61% to 3rd quarter growth, revised from a 0.65% addition, while the smaller decrease in real imports added 0.16% from the 3rd quarters’s GDP, rather than the 0.12% addition, meaning the overall impact of net trade was essentially unchanged…  

      finally, there were only minor revisions to real government consumption and investment in this 3rd estimate…real federal government consumption and investment grew at a 9.9% rate vis a vis the 2nd quarter, which was unrevised, as real federal spending for defense grew at a 16.0% rate and added 0.66% to GDP, also unchanged from last month’s estimate, while.all other federal consumption and investment grew at a 0.4% rate and added just 0.01% to GDP growth…real state and local outlays rose at a seasonally adjusted 1.1% rate and added 0.13% to GDP growth, rather than the 0.8% rate of increase previously reported, as real state and local investment rose at a 2.1% rate and added 0.08% to GDP while state and local consumption spending rose at a 0.9% rate and added 0.4% to the quarter’s growth…

  12. fresno dan

    The Faux “Civility” of “Broken Windows” Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives
    Mayor Bill de Blasio, upon his election, recruited Bratton to again take the position of NYPD Commissioner. The Mayor, of course, was well aware of Bratton’s intense support for (blue-collar only) broken windows policing. Broken windows policing, therefore, far from being under “assault,” is actively being promoted by the NYPD Commissioner and the Mayor. What Bratton and Kelling are so upset about is, first, after the latest police killings of black males, there were continuing protests in many cities. Second, many criminologists and police commissioners criticize broken windows policing (against blue collar criminals only).

    The Mayor did not criticize Bratton’s blue collar only broken windows policing strategy even after these police killings. The Mayor has, however, made public the advice he and his wife gave to their son in dealings he may have with police.

    “The mayor, who is white, appeared on ABC’s ‘This Week’ and talked about what he and wife Chirlane McCray, who is black, have told their 17-year-old biracial son Dante about interacting with the police, which included not reaching for a cellphone because it ‘might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color,’ by police. The comments came after a grand jury decided not indict a white cop in the choking death of Eric Garner, who is black, in Staten Island.”

    The Mayor’s comments enraged the NYPD police unions.

    “Mayor de Blasio made ‘moronic’ comments Sunday that prove he ‘doesn’t belong’ in New York, a key police union chief said, further inflaming the war of words between Hizzoner and the NYPD.

    The comments from Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association….”

    If the Mayor “doesn’t belong” in NYC because he gave his son that advice, then no black parent with a son “belong[s]” in NYC because some close variant of what the Mayor and his wife advised his son is absolutely normal advice. The fact that parents with minority sons feel that giving such advice is essential does reveal that the black and white experience in America is still distinct in some important ways. While Bratton and Kelling ignored the point, minorities are substantially more likely to be subjected to humiliating “stop and frisk” demands by NYPD police – and the great majority of such demands lead to no criminal case, so there is no reason to assume that the police are successfully targeting criminals in these encounters. I provided the data on these points in a prior article.”
    I note I made a comment yesterday in which I stated that I was cynical about the mayor being “bullied” when it seemed apparent he (the mayor) was doing what he was going to do anyway. I think this article affirms that.

    The link below is from John Mauldin, a financial blogger and the excerpt is from a blog posting of his. I don’t follow Maudlin that closely, although I know he lives in Texas, and has a number of adopted children, and take it he is a Christian (and one who apparently actually practices Christianity as opposed to merely professing it….)
    Anyway, I don’t think an objective person could characterize Mauldin as being some sort of left winger. Therefore I thing his comments lack the “ax to grind” that is found in so much commentary (considering that he has to do business with rich people in Texas, I find his acknowledgement of the problem rather courageous…)

    “On a very personal note, everyone is aware of the “We Can’t Breathe” protests that are taking place in response to a very tragic incident in New York. Reasonable people can disagree on what the response should be or on how to interpret the facts of that particular incident, but it is not difficult for me to understand the frustrations of the African-American community.

    I have two adopted black sons (now adults) along with my five other children (two of them Asian-American). I can tell you that my experience has been that as teenagers they were far more likely to be pulled over and harassed or arrested for things my white children would have been simply told to stop doing and then sent on their way. For the police it seemed to be a problem for my black sons to drive my car around my (admittedly mostly white) neighborhood. There were clearly double standards, both in some of the public and private schools my children attended. I had to be careful not to put them in certain situations that would cause them frustrations. To pretend there is still not a double standard in our society is to whistle past the graveyard. That said, I don’t want to seem like I’m giving a pass to what is clearly all too often a broken family structure and cultural acceptance of certain inappropriate behaviors among young black men. The frustrations of all parties stem from very real problems. There are no simple answers, and much of the really hard work needs to be done in local communities.

    The whole racial issue has vastly improved since I was young. Projections are that by 2020 around 10% of people in the US will be biracial. That is expected to grow to 20% by 2050 and is clearly going to change the way that we (and especially our children) interact with each other. I will have my fifth biracial grandchild sometime later this month. I hope the world they grow up in is considerably different from the world I grew up in or even today’s world. But recent events demonstrate that we still have some miles left on the journey to a truly colorblind system. Rather than defending a system that clearly still has issues that need to be dealt with, we need to face the problems and figure out how to make a world we want all of our children to grow up in.”

  13. optimader
    “North Korea’s circle of internet users is so small that the country has only 1,024 IP addresses for 25 million people, whereas the US has billions of IP addresses for 316 million people. While it’s impossible to infer a specific number of internet-connected devices from this, it is safe to say that the number is very, very small.”

    At the risk of being redundant, as I pointed before, it is vanishingly small odds that Gmnt and NGO intel services (US and others) don’t know exactly what packets zip into and out of these static IP addys. (Sidebar: I’ve seen this 1,024 IP addy count elsewhere but haven’t found the actual source for that count. What I find oddly cooincident is that 1,024 is also:
    Special use in computers
    In binary notation, 1024 is represented as 10000000000, making it a simple round number occurring frequently in computer applications.

    1024 is the maximum number of computer memory addresses that can be referenced with ten binary switches. This is the origin of the organization of computer memory into 1024-byte chunks or kibibytes.

    In the Rich Text Format, language code 1024 indicates the text is not in any language and should be skipped over when proofing. Most used languages codes in RTF are integers slightly over 1024.

    1024×768 pixels and 1280×1024 pixels are common standards of display resolution.

    1. hunkerdown

      Here’s an overview, with more information (and the public record of the /22 allocation to which everyone refers, plus a couple of others of interest). There’s no spooky numerology here; they just have the same size allocation for their entire public-facing Internet as most US cable Internet providers have for their single segments.

      If only newspapers were properly footnoted and articles bibliographed.

  14. Jackrabbit

    Why did it take so long to explain that oil prices are coming down because of a slow economy?

    Saudi Arabia could’ve just said the same from the get-go (months ago).

    Instead, for weeks we got pundits dissecting the US-Saudi relationship and insisting that the Saudi Arabia is angry with US for its Iran overture and/or is targeting US shale oil.

    In fact, I initially thought that the oil price drop was mostly due to a weak economy but I changed my opinion because the price drop has been too quick and the Saudis seem uninterested in stabilizing the market at a profit maximizing price.

    The Saudi’s don’t need to bankrupt American frackers. They only need to make it uneconomical to drill the next well. As was noted by an NC reader in a comment days ago, frackers need to continually drill because the wells run dry. And OPEC countries were begging Saudi Arabia to relent when the price was in the 80’s.

    The weak economy ADDS TO SAUDI POWER to drive down prices. But it is not the determining factor in how low the Saudi’s will take the oil price.

    Should we simply ignore the devastating effect that sanctions + the dramatic drop in oil have on Russia, Iran, and Venezuela? … or that the Obama Administration has not complained about how quickly the price has fallen when the much of the growth of the US economy has been due to fracking? … or the new Cold War and the developing neocon nightmare of Russia aligned with China, India, Iran, etc?

    H O P

    1. Jackrabbit

      Lets not forget other famous counter-factual “truths” from recent history:

      – They hate us for our freedoms. (after 9-11)

      – TARP made money. (after bailouts and backdoor bailouts)

      – Radiation is good for you. (after the Fukushima meltdown)

      Readers feel free to cite more.

  15. grayslady

    Two Christmas classics I like to watch again at this time of year. The first is a marvelous political cartoon by Joseph Cannon of Cannonfire, written in 2009 that, unfortunately, is still accurate today. For something more fun, the great version of White Christmas by Joshua Held on YouTube.

  16. flora

    re:”Elevator pitch: Slapstick comedy about worst movie ever made becoming box-office smash when it’s hacked by North Korea Will Bunch”

    OMG, a remake of “The Producers”.
    “Springtime for Hitler and Germany…”

  17. susan the other

    Pepe Escobar. Asia Times. Divide and Rule? China is ignoring us (how rude) and doing its own thing. Pepe says that China is promoting a multi polar world in Asia. But he doesn’t say why. I think it’s pure diplomacy, that’s why. If China bought into the US plan for a bipolar world (pun intended) with China and the US as the only two indispensable axes, it would by its very neoliberal design require the smaller, poorer nations to be subservient both economically and politically. China knows full well that our TPP is an exploitative, militaristic treaty for the benefit of the USA. A treaty that blatantly doesn’t even pretend to include China. Which is US style diplomacy trying to force China to agree to a bipolar world. China just ignored the whole thing and went straight to its Asian neighbors with a better offer. Leaving us with our dick in the door. China is sensibly promoting SOEs when they are necessary for the well being of any country. This doesn’t sound like Pepe’s description of China being basically neoliberal. I think he’s wrong on that one. My wishful thinking – hoping neoliberalism has been a transitional act of desperation by us and we too are looking for a way out – because it clearly doesn’t work.

  18. Jim Haygood

    After a thrice-swallowed post [followed by ‘duplicate comment detected; looks like you’ve already said that’ message] I GIVE UP.

    WordPress … where comments go to die.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Russia, China mock divide and rule.

    Escobar mentioned the slap by Laozi, but there was another slap to Confucius’ face. This time, by the Madman of Chu, who said to the sage (according to legend, a phoenix will appear when peace reigns on earth and the sage is being compared to the sacred bird), ‘Oh, how your virtue has degenerated,’ referring to the ‘chaos’ of the time.

    Our lesson today is we have to look for a phoenix, instead of reindeers, tonight.


  20. Working Class Nero

    On the Rolling Stone (RS) rape hoax, having a journalism school investigating this journalistic catastrophe is kind of like having a police academy investigating police misconduct. The best we can hope for is that some basic facts about who created which part of the story but the cultural closeness between the investigators and the investigated preclude any hard-hitting conclusions.

    Because what we have here is a folie à deux between the “journalist” Sabina Rubin Erdely (SRE) and the “victim” Jackie. Much as musicologists studying Beatles compositions try to determine which parts Paul created and which sections were John’s – any investigation into the U-Va hoax will have to separate the fables created by SRE from those of Jackie and study the motive behind the lies.

    For example there were four highly dubious “shattered glass” events in the RS article which would lead a literary critic to think the author was attempting to evoke Kristallnacht. This is only reinforced by the author referring to U-Va as “overwhelmingly blond”, i.e. Aryan. This is an obvious tell since “overwhelmingly” means at least 80% and there is no way, even with an expanded interpretation of the meaning of blond, that U’Va is even 20% blond. What would it say about an author if she claimed a campus was overwhelmingly Muslim when in fact there were not all that many Muslims at all?

    Ironically there actually was a small-scale Kristallnacht event just after the Rolling Stone story came out perpetrated by a mob of crazed Social Justice Warriors (SJW). From the Washington Times:

    In the wee morning hours after Rolling Stone’s now-retracted gang rape story roiled the University of Virginia campus, a masked group of five women and three men unleashed their fury on the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the center of the controversy.

    Bottles and bricks were tossed through nearly every first-floor window, sending shards of glass and crashing sounds into the house around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 20.

    Profane, hate messages such as “F—k Boys” were spray-painted on the walls of the colonial facade, along with anti-sexual assault epithets such as “suspend us,” and “UVA Center for Rape Studies.”


    After finding witnesses, cellphone information and social media postings bragging about the attack, The Times tracked down a male student identified by witnesses as a possible leader of the attack. The student agreed to talk to The Times only on the condition that his name wasn’t published, saying he didn’t want police to find him.

    The young man, the progeny of a privileged family, readily and unrepentantly admitted his role and described the attack his friends carried out in details that match police and eyewitness reports. He also said he knew his actions would be considered illegal.

    “I texted one of my friends and I was like, ‘Let’s throw bottles at the Phi Psi house tonight,’ and she said, ‘Yes!’ I think that the article made it clear that victims at the university have no legitimate channels to take action, and I think vandalism is a completely legitimate form of action when like, legitimate authority is corrupt. I think it was justified,” he said in an interview with The Times. …

    Imagine the reaction if a bunch of Muslims were falsely accused of rape and a mob went and stoned their hang-out. Well actually, the opposite recently did happen in Rotherham, England, where more than 1400 young girls were systematically raped by a gang of Muslim immigrants. But when the girls or their families reported these crimes to the authorities (from the Daily Mail):

    The sexual abuse of about 1,400 children at the hands of Asian men went unreported for 16 years because staff feared they would be seen as racist, a report said today.

    Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the council commissioned review into child protection revealed.

    And shockingly, more than a third of the cases were already know to agencies.

    But according to the report’s author: ‘several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist’.

    This must have seriously frustrated anti-rape activists. If only the rapists could be upper middle class straight and white. Which leads one to believe, while not wanting to get too much into René Girard here, that maybe SRE was trying to create a politically acceptable scapegoat to step in and accept the guilt in the place of those rapists whose identity make SJW’s uncomfortable to go after. What SRE was attempting to construct was a politically correct Rotherham. Or a place where the “rape culture” protected the rapists and not political correctness. The tell is the money paragraphs from the Rolling Stones article:

    When Jackie came to, she was alone. It was after 3 a.m. She painfully rose from the floor and ran shoeless from the room. She emerged to discover the Phi Psi party still surreally under way, but if anyone noticed the barefoot, disheveled girl hurrying down a side staircase, face beaten, dress spattered with blood, they said nothing. Disoriented, Jackie burst out a side door, realized she was lost, and dialed a friend, screaming, “Something bad happened. I need you to come and find me!” Minutes later, her three best friends on campus – two boys and a girl (whose names are changed) – arrived to find Jackie on a nearby street corner, shaking. “What did they do to you? What did they make you do?” Jackie recalls her friend Randall demanding. Jackie shook her head and began to cry. The group looked at one another in a panic. They all knew about Jackie’s date; the Phi Kappa Psi house loomed behind them. “We have to get her to the hospital,” Randall said.

    Their other two friends, however, weren’t convinced. “Is that such a good idea?” she recalls Cindy asking. “Her reputation will be shot for the next four years.” Andy seconded the opinion, adding that since he and Randall both planned to rush fraternities, they ought to think this through. The three friends launched into a heated discussion about the social price of reporting Jackie’s rape, while Jackie stood beside them, mute in her bloody dress, wishing only to go back to her dorm room and fall into a deep, forgetful sleep. Detached, Jackie listened as Cindy prevailed over the group: “She’s gonna be the girl who cried ‘rape,’ and we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.”


    She was having an especially difficult time figuring out how to process that awful night, because her small social circle seemed so underwhelmed. For the first month of school, Jackie had latched onto a crew of lighthearted social strivers, and her pals were now impatient for Jackie to rejoin the merriment. “You’re still upset about that?” Andy asked one Friday night when Jackie was crying. Cindy, a self-declared hookup queen, said she didn’t see why Jackie was so bent out of shape. “Why didn’t you have fun with it?” Cindy asked. “A bunch of hot Phi Psi guys?” One of Jackie’s friends told her, unconcerned, “Andy said you had a bad experience at a frat, and you’ve been a baby ever since.”

    The reality is that none of these three friends were ever contacted by Rolling Stone. They have since spoken out and strongly deny the statements attributed to them in the article. Cindy in particular was shocked to be called “a self-declared hookup queen” and denies promoting rape by saying, ‘Why didn’t you have fun with it — A bunch of hot Phi Psi guys?”. Instead the three friend state that Jackie “catfished” out of thin air her rapist, Haven Monahan (Hannah Montana?), in a weak attempt to make the guy she had a crush on, Andy, jealous.

    And although she did act traumatized on the night she announced the supposed rape by the imaginary Haven, a few days later the friends received an email from the “rapist’ Haven where he bizarrely forwarded a well written love letter by Jackie to Andy. It turns out this love letter was plagiarized from a Dawson’s Creek episode, among other sources!

    But more importantly, in the three paragraphs above (and in plenty of other parts of the article), we have SRE creating a reverse Rotherham, where instead of government workers afraid of investigating rape due to questions of political correctness and being branded racist; we have fellow students advising against reporting rapes due to “Rape Culture Correctness” and being branded uncool.

    Hopefully the Columbia Journalism School (CSJ) investigation will at the very least let us know if SRE totally made up these statements by the three friends; whether she created them together with Jackie; or whether Jackie created false email addresses and catfished these statements to SRE. But as with Paul and John for Beatles songs, we may never fully understand the creative processes at work behind the scenes of this article.

    In any case with Jackie we have a simple case of folie d’amour but with Sabrina Rubin Erdely we have a more devious case of folie politique. But I doubt the CSJ will get into much of this.

  21. JTFaraday

    re: Antidote du jour

    Either that guinea pig just had a really good day, or a really bad day.

    (Well, what more can a guinea pig expect).

  22. Brooklin Bridge

    This may have been in yesterday’s links, but if not, it is an excellent article, How the CIA Sold Obama on Counterinsurgency in Counter Punch by David H. Price

    Two salient paragraphs:

    The [leaked CIA] report’s embedded thesis implicitly argued that High Value Targeting assassination campaigns have made important contributions to specific types of counterinsurgency operations. These are not one size fits all operations, and the CIA’s narrative describes attributes of insurgency movements that have been (and can be) controlled by these selective assassination programs. Claims that insurgencies can be typologically studied and classified—allowing for diagnosis and appropriate “treatment,” fits models of simplistically engineered social science that the Pentagon and CIA seeks to fund with post-9/11 programs like the Minerva Initiative, the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program, and other projects linking academics to American military and intelligence programs.


    The importance of this leaked report [WikiLeaks released a June 2009 CIA report on Best Pracices on Counterinsurgency…] is the view it provides us of how the CIA privately talked to itself and the Executive Branch, in part aping a pose of comparative social science, as it sold a new generation of assassination campaigns designed to thwart the development of insurgent political movements challenging American military interests. This report feeds an attraction to lethal counterinsurgency that has lured liberal American presidents from Kennedy to Obama, and plays to a certain form of intellectual arrogance nurtured at elite universities.

    The article makes a plausible and detailed argument as to why someone such as Obama would be particularly susceptible to this sort of pseudo science.

    1. different clue

      They got an awful lot of American weapons at one time in Northern Iraq when the Iraqi army formations broke and fled, leaving all the beautiful weapons behind for ISIS to pick up. That was in the news when it happened.
      They probably get or take much weapons from weaker less battle-worthy militias in Syria. Since the Erdogist regime in Turkey is pro-ISIS, the Erdogists probably make sure that ISIS keeps getting supplies through Erdogist-friendly channels.

      1. gordon

        Don’t worry about it! Vietnamisation is going to start working real soon! Expect big ARVN victories in the New Year!

  23. Elliot

    Nice elk vid; reminds me of the herd who call my woods their summer home.

    FWIW, the US has a smidge of native reindeer (woodland caribou)–in greatly endangered status–where Idaho & Washington meet BC. Logging & atv’s & the Farm Bureau continue to exert pressure on them, but for now they still live.

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