Naturally, now that I’ve got a #Prius, ‘experts’ forecast #OilPrice stability: Daily Bullshit, September 12, 2016

Oil prices

One of my motivations for insisting on a Prius was a fear that probably next year, gas prices would go through the roof. Understand I can’t justify this fear except through experience: Prices never remain low. And I remember all too well how in the final months of my time living in the Santa Cruz Mountains and commuting to California State University, East Bay, prices skyrocketed to well over four dollars per gallon.

So naturally, once I moved in with my mother, and as the financial crisis took hold, those prices plummeted. I won’t soon forget (and still long to see again) a $1.99 price advertised at the 76 station near her house. It didn’t last long, as prices climbed again. I don’t think they reached the levels they had in 2008, but at various points they came close enough to get my attention.

So since gas prices have plummeted, I’ve been expecting them to rise again. And naturally, now, thanks to help from my aunt and mother, that I’ve got the Prius, the forecast is for oil prices to be stable.[1]

A couple points here: First, my thinking has generally reflected the ‘expert’ consensus for relatively low prices to continue through this year, expecting rather to see skyrocketing prices next year. I don’t see much change in that in this article.[2] But the second point seems to me that banking on stability in a historically volatile market can’t work for very long.

Something will happen. I don’t know what. I don’t even know when. But I’m thinking I’m going to be a lot happier with the Prius (actually, I already am) than without.

Nicole Friedman, “New Reality for Oil: Steadier Prices Reflecting Role of Shale Producers,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-reality-for-oil-steadier-prices-reflecting-role-of-shale-producers-1473620140


Horse race (with apologies to real horses)

I do not disagree with John Zogby in much of his analysis. In fact, I think his comment that “a measure of just how polarized this electorate really is” lies in how “both candidates now cavalierly characterize each other’s supporters in stereotypical ways” and therefore that neither candidate is effectively running “to build a majority coalition”[3] is right on.

At this point, it doesn’t even matter how each of us individually may feel about either major party candidate. I’m talking about large aggregates in a profoundly polarized population.

No matter who wins this election, the losing side will feel tyrannized. And the winner will be illegitimate and demonized, whether for dissembling, for alleged protofascism, for criminality, for warmongering, for neoliberalism, for something else, or for some combination of these both for a large proportion of the electorate and for a large portion of the political class. We will be subject to eight more years of obstruction and eight more years of reason for dissolving the allegedly United States due to irreconcilable differences.

But that’s not all that’s bad. As I explained in my dissertation, authoritarian populists have legitimate grievances about the effects of neoliberal policy.[4] In his appeal to paleoconservatives in this election, Donald Trump has managed to sweep those grievances under the rug, which is just where Hillary Clinton wants them left.[5]

All that said, Zogby does not, nor have I recently heard any pollster or journalist, acknowledge the problems I pointed to on July 15:

First, I’ve been hearing for a while that survey-takers are facing increased difficulties in getting a random sample. People have changed their communication habits and solutions which worked in the past simply don’t anymore. But on top of that, I’ve heard that response rates have been declining precipitously because so many so-called ‘surveys’ are in fact marketing or fundraising ploys—people are ignoring even legitimate surveys. Both of these problems introduce skews, which I’ve heard poll-takers claim they can correct for. I think they’re overconfident.[6]

I continue to believe, as I wrote on July 27, that “[a]nything said by either major party candidate can be dismissed as bullshit. The polls this year are bullshit. So we know nothing until we have actual election results and begin to see what the president-elect does.” So my reasons for “pretty much ending my coverage of the 2016 race”[7] remain intact. However, see the following section.

John Zogby, “Clinton and Trump: How Not To Win a Majority,” John Zogby Strategies, September 11, 2016, http://johnzogbystrategies.com/clinton-and-trump-how-not-to-win-a-majority/


Hillary Clinton

Suggestions that Hillary Clinton may have to give up the Democratic Party nomination for president[8] seem overblown to me. My biggest concern—and I think that no matter what your feelings are about Clinton, that this should be our biggest concern—is that Clinton’s pneumonia will feed a narrative of women as the “weaker sex,” on either the superliminal or subliminal level. I despise Clinton, but I want her to lose (I also oppose Donald Trump) because she is a warmonger and a neoliberal, and I reject allegations that her opponents are necessarily misogynists or, in any way, sexists. Clinton is, I believe, an astonishingly weak candidate, but because of her personal characteristics not because of her gender, and if she indeed wins, a question that seems increasingly in doubt,[9] it will only be, as I said on July 11, because she is up against an even weaker opponent.[10]

Meanwhile, I think Richard Wolffe misconstrues both the motivation of Trump’s authoritarian populist supporters and Barack Obama’s 2008 comment[11] about those who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment.”[12] I covered these in my dissertation.[13] What’s remarkable is that even having included the full context of Obama’s remark, Wolffe misconstrues it, ignoring Obama’s expression of sympathy for people in places where “the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.”[14]

The real issue here, and I think this arises with Brexit as well, is that neoconservative and neoliberal policies, supported by so-called ‘experts,’ have gotten a lot of working class and poor folks (the ones who go fight in any war) killed and have failed to deliver prosperity. Such folks are entirely entitled to ask what good these so-called ‘experts’ are doing for them and why they should believe Clinton will do any different, especially when Obama has gotten a pass for the very failing he decried on the campaign trail.

Callum Borchers, “The Clinton campaign’s bad damage control just made the health story even worse,” Washington Post, September 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/11/the-clinton-campaigns-bad-damage-control-just-made-the-health-story-even-worse/

Chris Cillizza, “Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign,” Washington Post, September 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/11/hillary-clintons-health-just-became-a-real-issue-in-the-presidential-campaign/

Hill, “Clinton cancels campaign trip to California,” September 11, 2016, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/295361-clinton-cancels-campaign-trip-to-california

Ryan Tracy and Peter Nicholas, “Hillary Clinton Diagnosed With Pneumonia Friday, Became Dehydrated at 9/11 Ceremony,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-felt-overheated-and-left-9-11-ceremony-1473607626

Daniel R. DePetris, “Here’s What Happens if Hillary Clinton Quits,” National Interest, September 12, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/heres-what-happens-if-hillary-clinton-quits-17672

Laura Meckler, “Hillary Clinton to Release More Medical Records After Pneumonia Diagnosis,” Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-plans-to-rest-amid-health-concerns-1473694474

Amie Parnes, “Clinton allies criticize campaign over health secrecy,” Hill, September 12, 2016, http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/295441-clinton-allies-criticize-campaign-over-health-secrecy

Andrew Prokop, “Hillary Clinton’s health news comes just as the race is close enough for Dems to worry,” Vox, September 12, 2016, http://www.vox.com/2016/9/12/12883010/hillary-clinton-health-polling-trump

Sputnik News, “Hillary Dragged Into Van After Fainting: Can Bernie or Biden Replace Her? Yes,” Global Security, September 12, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2016/09/mil-160911-sputnik04.htm

Richard Wolffe, “Hillary Clinton had a terrible weekend. The alternative is far, far worse,” Guardian, September 12, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/11/hillary-clinton-terrible-weekend-alternative-worse


  1. [1]Nicole Friedman, “New Reality for Oil: Steadier Prices Reflecting Role of Shale Producers,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-reality-for-oil-steadier-prices-reflecting-role-of-shale-producers-1473620140
  2. [2]Nicole Friedman, “New Reality for Oil: Steadier Prices Reflecting Role of Shale Producers,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-reality-for-oil-steadier-prices-reflecting-role-of-shale-producers-1473620140
  3. [3]John Zogby, “Clinton and Trump: How Not To Win a Majority,” John Zogby Strategies, September 11, 2016, http://johnzogbystrategies.com/clinton-and-trump-how-not-to-win-a-majority/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  5. [5]Thomas Frank, “With Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton,” Guardian, August 13, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/13/trump-clinton-election-chances-moderate-policies-economy
  6. [6]David Benfell, “#NeverTrump says #NeverDie (updated again),” (Almost) Daily Bullshit, July 15, 2016, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2016/07/15/nevertrump-says-neverdie/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Supreme Court partly to blame for police killings,” (Almost) Daily Bullshit, July 27, 2016, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2016/07/27/supreme-court-partly-to-blame-for-police-killings-daily-bullshit-july-27-2016/
  8. [8]Daniel R. DePetris, “Here’s What Happens if Hillary Clinton Quits,” National Interest, September 12, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/heres-what-happens-if-hillary-clinton-quits-17672; Sputnik News, “Hillary Dragged Into Van After Fainting: Can Bernie or Biden Replace Her? Yes,” Global Security, September 12, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2016/09/mil-160911-sputnik04.htm
  9. [9]John Zogby, “Clinton and Trump: How Not To Win a Majority,” John Zogby Strategies, September 11, 2016, http://johnzogbystrategies.com/clinton-and-trump-how-not-to-win-a-majority/
  10. [10]David Benfell, “Theresa May may be in a stronger position than it appears,” (Almost) Daily Bullshit, July 11, 2016, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2016/07/11/782/
  11. [11]Richard Wolffe, “Hillary Clinton had a terrible weekend. The alternative is far, far worse,” Guardian, September 12, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/11/hillary-clinton-terrible-weekend-alternative-worse
  12. [12]Barack Obama, quoted in Richard Wolffe, “Hillary Clinton had a terrible weekend. The alternative is far, far worse,” Guardian, September 12, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/11/hillary-clinton-terrible-weekend-alternative-worse
  13. [13]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  14. [14]Barack Obama, quoted in Richard Wolffe, “Hillary Clinton had a terrible weekend. The alternative is far, far worse,” Guardian, September 12, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/11/hillary-clinton-terrible-weekend-alternative-worse

One thought on “Naturally, now that I’ve got a #Prius, ‘experts’ forecast #OilPrice stability: Daily Bullshit, September 12, 2016

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.