Today’s broadsheet from the FM website pressroom. There are four sections:
- Links to interesting news and analysis
- Today’s special item
- News about themes from posts past on the FM website (including some hot news)
- An interesting comment lifted from the FM website
(I) Links to interesting news and analysis
- “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing” — Horrifying!
- “Governor Paterson Paints Grim Picture of N.Y. Budget Crisis“, New York Times, 8 November 2009
- “Oil at $100 Doesn’t Compute as OPEC Output Pace Grows“, Bloomberg, 9 November 2009
- “Afghanistan Mission Creep Watch – The Barack ‘Baines’ Obama Version“, Michael Cohen, Democracy Arsenal, 9 November 2009
- “High and dry“, The Standard, 9 November 2009 — Macau has only 10 days of water remaining in its reservoirs, due to the drought.
(II) Today’s special item
Quote of the day about the Fort Hood murders: “This is perhaps a moment to reflect on the fact that the murder of innocent people is not really made better or worse by deep inquiry into the precise nature of the crime.”, Matthew Yglesias, 8 November 2009 — Close you eyes and cry “Ya, Ya, Ya”. That also helps to obscure the obvious.
(III) Updates from past posts
(a) Hot news: “Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says IEA whistleblower“, The Guardian, 9 November 2009 — “The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.” For more information see:
- When will global oil production peak? Here is the answer! , 1 November 2007
(b) A series about the costs of medical care, by Thomas Sowell, posted at Townhall.com, 3-6 November 2009 — Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV. For more about this issue see:
- Beginning of the end of the Republic’s solvency. Soon come the first steps to a reformed regime – or a new regime. — About US health care costs.
(c) About the trashing of World Oil magazine by its senior management, more journalists who’ve forgotten the meaning of journalism (other than selling adverts), by Perry Fischer (former Editor), posted at The Petroleum Truth Report, 6 November 2009 — For more about this theme, see:
- The media rolls over and plays dead for Obama, as it does for all new Presidents, 19 February 2009
- The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
- The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
- We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009
- Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009
- We know nothing because we read newspapers, 12 October 2009
- Must the old media die for the new media to flourish?, 29 October 2009
IV. Today’s interesting comment lifted from the FM website
From Mark I’s comments #52, #54, and #66, posted at Update: why has the worst recession since the 1930’s had so little impact on the economy?, 5 October 2009. Like most of these, a swarm from the Instapundit’s website, they display little knowledge of economics — but enormous certainty:
Hands down, the 78-82 period was an actual crisis that exceeds the one we currently face.
… One last point, though – this repeated phrase: “the worst recession since the 1930’s” pretend that one were judging economic crisis on a scale of 1 to 100. We’ll give the great depression a score of 85. This current crisis is about a 20. Put the other crisis in the system, and we’ll give the 80’s a low score of 10.
Your intellectual “brinksmanship” demands that you point out that our current crisis is the closest we have ever been to the great depression, without ANY OTHER scale. You repeatedly use the phrase, without any acknowledgement that on the spectrum, our position is FAR CLOSER to our modest recessions, than the great depression.
FM reply: The current downturn is the worst since the 1930’s by almost every metric. And the gap continues to widen. Most obviously, this recession is longer, but also…
- employment — down aprox 5.2% from peak, greatest decline since the 1930’s (graph).
- personal income — down almost 4% annualized, first negative since 1960.
- personal expenditures — down over 2% annualized, first negative since 1960.
- manufactures’ capacity utilization is 69%, a post-1930’s low.
- industrial production at -13% YoY, a post-WWII low.
- business earings – S&P 500 eps down-91% vs. down 74% in 1929-32.
- trade (per Krugman: “has fallen through the floor in a way that it literally never has before, including in the Great Depression”),
Compare this downturn in GDP to the other severe “gdp recessions” since WWII:
Start……….End……Duration…Drop in GDP (duration in months)
(source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Due to the large and rapid federal stimulus programs (poorly designed as they were), this recession’s drop in aggregate demand (GDP) was muted, compared to the decline in most economic factors.
In a few respects this downturn is almost as bad — or worse (e.g., foreclosures) than the 1930’s:
- ”A Tale of Two Depressions“, Barry Eichengreen and Kevin H. O’Rourke, VOX, 1 September 2009
- “The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession“, Linda Levine, Congressional Research Service, 19 June 2009
Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).
Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.
14 thoughts on “FM newswire, 10 Nov – links to old-fashioned journalism”
Happy Birthday United States Marine Corp.
Excerpt from Marine Corps Birthday: (from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, Marion F. Sturkey, 2001), posted at Heritage Press.
Re: Mark Steyn
IMHO, Mark gets carried away. The failure to control the Israeli fundamentalists has kept the Palestinian problem un-solvable. Until this is rectified, Israel will remain the target of choice for the Islamic world, for all its reasons to use Israel as bogeyman/enemy. Compound it with the invasion of Iraq and the perception of the US as a bullying leviathan, and the Wahabists and their madrassas have a growth industry.
First, this is one of the scarier items in a while. A lot of folks have been concerned (including you) that the global economy would jump out of the frying pan of recession into the fire of an energy shortage, but given this data it appears that the true magnitude may be closer to the worst-case scenarios.
Regarding the quote above, you’ve long pointed out that a major source of uncertainty in peak oil forecasts is the lack of good data on Saudi Arabian production and reserves. The article isn’t too explicit on this point but the implication is that Saudi Arabia has been inflating the numbers provided to the IEA at the behest of the United States to keep prices low. Perhaps this was the back-room counteroffer to the publicly denied U.S. request for increased production? Obviously there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that is opaque to us plebes . .
FM reply: Simmons’ forecasting ability is minimal. No surprise, since he’s an investment banker — not an oil expert. I lightly touched upon this here:
* Poor peak oil research, more evidence of a serious problem with America’s vision
For more detailed demolition of Simmons’ analytical ability see these posts from Peak Oil Debunked:
* THE TWO TONGUES OF MATT SIMMONS, 2 March 2006
* SIMMONS’ PREDICTIONS FLOP… PATHETICALLY, 19 March 2006
* A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH MATT SIMMONS, 22 October 2008
* 100 YEARS OF NATURAL GAS , 23 June 2009
* MATT SIMMONS: THE BUFFOONERY NEVER ENDS, 3 September 2009
Also, nothing he predicted has true yet, from his June 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy”.
Oh, and regarding Mark I’s comment, I don’t think he was disputing that the current recession was the worst since the Great Depression, he was claiming that this is misleading since there is a large gap between first and second place. Obviously this depends on what metrics you look at, but I believe several sets of data (including some referenced here) demonstrate that in some measures we are closer to the Great Depression than to the other modern recessions.
FM reply: No, that is exactly what he was saying — but this was unclear from the excerpt I gave. Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve added another quote and links.
Whenever you wanna see something REALLY scary, google “Matt Simmons.” Ooh.
FM reply: Scary, like a Halloween ghost. But not real. See the previous post.
In response to Mark Steyn, I have only this to say:
Let us all give thanks and praise to Allah every day that Muslims are or at least seem to be as perfidious as he says they are. And may they so continue.
For, by focusing on their shortcomings, we thereby avoid considering our own. And considering our own is something we do not want to do.
Re 8: Where have I seen that idea before…
Oh yea…”and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Good point. However, those who are into modern psychobabble or who simply feel uncomfortable with your specific religious reference can reach much the same result by citing Carl Jung’s projection of the shadow.
Shadow…Oh, you mean our “Lizard Brain”. Wikipedia on Amygdala. Yes, “Another point” was definitely thinking with his lizard brain.
What? I’ve been filling all these jerrycans for nothing? Darn it Matt!
Thanks for the heads up on Matt Simmons. I followed Mikyo’s advice and came to much the same conclusion.