Revisionist Dogma: The Peak Oil Promise was that as we ran out of oil, the price would rise until we could no longer afford our way of life. Turns out that our way of life – borrow and spend, borrow and spend – has run out of the borrow part and we have become too poor to buy the oil, even though we're swimming in a surplus of the stuff. Who knew that the end of the oil age would be reached through Peak Debt? Look around: the world is flooded with expensive ($100 a bbl or so) oil that no one can afford, in a global economy that is stagnant if not contracting, with immense and mostly unpayable debts that will prevent further investment in exploration and production of the expensive shale, sand, deepwater and arctic oil that remains. Death by debt. Seems appropriate.
Kinder, Gentler: Pope Francis has promoted one of his highest ranking conservative critics, Cardinal Burke, from the powerful Congregation of Bishops to the do-nothing and powerless position of chaplain to the Knights of Malta. Francis hasn't got to the part in the Bible about turning the other cheek.
Odds: One in three American women has had an abortion. But they don't talk about it, especially to those who oppose the idea. And wisely so, for abortion opponents won't listen and couldn't understand even if they did. After all, they are good, moral, righteous people and don't know any of the sort of scum that would have an abortion. Tends to cut down on the discussion. Especially conservative politicians (or more accurately, politicans pandering to some imaginary conservative cohort) who believe that voters are far more conservative than they actually are.
Noted: The Federal government now employs fewer people than it has since 1966. Big government, brought to you by Obama.
Answer Sheet: The basic take-away from the latest job report is the same message we've been getting all this year: there is no change to the established trend – there is no noticable improvement. This just confirms most of the other economic indicators; in a slowing world economy we are mostly just drifting along. Leave the analysis of the minutia to specialists. The big picture easy to see. The US is growing steadily at about 2% a year, and almost all the gains have gone to the 1%, and just last week, to the Republicans.
Move Along, Nothing New Here: The world is losing the battle against global warming – mostly it's a forfeit because we didn't even take to the field of battle. Our love affair with cars and our dedicated indifference to the polution industries dump into the air is “linked” with the increase in ADHD children in our country. President Obama is sending another 1,500 troops to Iraq.
Squeaky Wheel: OPEC, rather self-servingly, says that oil prices are sure to rebound to the $100 a barrel level and more, mostly because their budgets need the money. Oh, they say that demand has barely fallen and will continue to grow and all that, but OPEC predictions have never been particularly accurate. They are, however, the first to suggest that speculators (who always get the blame for rising prices) may well have driven down prices. But that's just speculation. They may have a point when it comes to future production, for an extended period of low prices will dry up investment money so that when the time comes to turn on the taps once more, there won't be any new taps to turn. And that'll be a fine mess, Ollie.
A Love Story: There still is no sign of acceleration in US wages, despite the 'recovery'. In fact, real wages have been flat for at least the last five years. And dormant for a lot longer than that.
Playbook: Having won the elections and given the mandatory bipartisan pledge, the first (and possibly only) thing on the Republican agenda is to impeach the president, mainly for being black.
Red Rover, Red Rover: Bernanke's QE did not, has not and doesn't seem inclined to ever unleash the massive inflation critics feared. So do they surrender, admit they were wrong? Nope. When their favorite model fails, they turn to another, and another – always predicting the same thing but with slightly different reasoning. The latest excuse for not admitting Keynes got something right is called neo-Fisherianism. It must be right; it uses formulas and has lots of numbers.
Porn O'Graph: “In Recovery”?