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Monday, July 28, 2008

How Far Does Oil Have To Drop?

How far does oil have to drop in order to reverse the current growth-sapping and inflating trend?

This is a startlingly accurate Bloomberg article regarding the mechanics of fuel subsidies in Asia, but the predictions listed don't match the mechanics very well:
Governments are being forced to choose between two unattractive alternatives: run up bigger deficits by continuing to shield citizens from soaring energy prices, or start to withdraw subsidies, fueling inflation and political backlash.
Note that either choice inflicts demand destruction for most of these countries. Higher deficits will induce worry over currencies, and cause capital outflow, which will weaken currencies further. (A la India.) That will boost overall inflation in these countries. Cutting the subsidies significantly inflicts huge pain on the domestic population, which collapses internal demand. The best way to walk the tightrope is to change the subsidies from an economy-wide subsidy (including manufacturers) to a subsidy directly to the poorer people. However such a subsidy is still very costly for the governments, so the cost moved to the companies and wealthier population will have to be significant. That cuts demand and cuts growth.

Asian manufacturers have mostly been shielded from the energy market, which has in part led to overcapacity:
At stake is one of the pillars of the Asian economic miracle of the last decade. Below-market fuel and power costs made it cheaper for manufacturers in export-dependent economies to operate, giving them a competitive advantage over rivals in other markets. Subsidized prices also left consumers with more disposable income, boosting demand for goods and services.

Now, higher costs will erode the export edge. That may lead to more shuttered factories in countries such as China that already have more manufacturing capacity than they need to meet domestic and foreign demand, putting millions of people out of work.

Hong Kong companies may close 20,000 plants in the neighboring Chinese province of Guangdong this year as higher wages and fuel prices raise costs, the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association said last month.
Some countries, such as China, have been letting their currency rise. But that strategy is just about at an end for China. As costs rise and the currency rises, it's hard to sustain exports and the Guangdong exodus appears to be picking up speed. China's CPI may be dropping on price controls, but its PPI hit 8.8% in June, perilously close to GDP growth. The Chinese government clearly realizes the danger, and is now trying to reopen a lot of domestic coal mines to alleviate coal shortages. Unless it has rising corporate profits to continue to defray the cost of its subsidies, the entire structure comes tumbling down.

Nor is it at all reasonable to expect exports to Europe to rise in a situation in which food consumption in developed Europe is stagnant or falling (see Carrefour report). Wages have been generally stagnant in two of Europe's largest economies, France and Germany, and a relatively high percentage of the population of much of old Europe is living on pensions. France is trying to offset the trend by reversing the 35 hour workweek rule, which should enhance productivity and provide a way to boost worker incomes. Germany, not having ever gone quite that far, must depend on generating new jobs. The German consumer too is highly pressured:
A sub-index measuring income expectations decreased to minus 20 from minus 7.2 and a gauge of consumers' propensity to spend fell to minus 26.2 from minus 23.7. A measure of economic expectations plunged to minus 8 from 7.5.

Praktiker AG, the second-largest home-improvement retailer, in Germany cut its full-year sales growth forecast on July 23 as households curb spending. The Kirkel-based company expects sales to rise at a ``low-single-digit'' pace this year instead of the ``mid-single-digit'' previously projected.
Now back to oil prices. It's important to acknowledge that the runup in oil prices has affected other energy costs by increasing their relative demand. The rise in coal pricing in particular appears to have reached a breaking point for China and India, with China imposing price caps on thermal coal, shutting down some rural power plants and trying to reopen domestic mines, and with India trying to get investors interested in reopening over 20 coal mines which had been abandoned. One only needs to look at this graph to understand how sharp and sudden the change has been:

Nor is the US unaffected. There is going to be a large follow-on shock as utility costs rise sharply for consumers over the next couple of years due to expiration and renewal of contracts, and due to higher delivery costs which are closely correlated with the price of diesel fuel. In May, coal prices had risen to about the level of aggregate oil import prices per barrel, and continued to rise in relationship:
Kolton, whose modeling is used by large energy and financial services companies, said history has shown repeatedly that when the cost of oil shoots up, the cost of other energy sources follows. He acknowledged that the increase in coal prices the past year has been extraordinary, even when taking into account the higher oil prices.

Kolton’s studies show that when the price of crude oil increases 15 percent in a 20-day period while the U.S. dollar is weakening, there’s a 75 percent chance that coal prices will rise 20 percent. There have been three instances in the past two months in which crude-oil prices rose 15 percent and the dollar continued to weaken.
That's what is controlling the market; the other half of the equation is that when coal prices become unsustainable, the whole energy market is set for declines.

The continued diversion of consumer income toward the basics now taking place in the highly developed economies will continue to impact Asian countries with high consumer exports for years to come. Evidence suggests that consumer demand will be constrained for years as minor price declines in gas are more than offset by higher utility and space heating costs.

If spot oil were to drop to May aggregate import costs of around $96, the evidence suggests that consumer buying power would still be constricted further on net consumer energy cost increases.

Since this is the active thread . . . a quick rebuttal to Obama is a postmodernist #2.


Problem #1:

When you consulted wikipedia's entry on postmodernism, did you notice this excerpt:

"Whether ‘postmodernism’ is seen as a critical concept or merely a buzzword, one cannot deny its range. Dick Hebdige, in his ‘Hiding in the Light’ illustrates this:

When it becomes possible for people to describe as ‘postmodern’ the décor of a room, the design of a building, the diegesis of a film . . . ."

He goes on to describe 30 or 40 ways in which the term postmodernism is used, and he concludes:

". . . when it becomes possible to describe all these things as ‘postmodern’ (or more simply using a current abbreviation as ‘post’ or ‘very post’) then it’s clear we are in the presence of a buzzword."

Describing someone as a postmodernist is such a fuzzy, amorphous accusation that it renders your argument meaningless. By comparison, at least the terms socialist or Marxist mean something more concrete.

Problem #2:

I notice you didn't even try to defend your accusation that Obama does not believe in objective meaning. Now you might argue that:

Obama is a postmodernist


Postmodernists do not believe in objective meaning


Obama does not believe in objective meaning

To which I could argue:

Maxed Out Mama is an extremist


Extremists advocate violence to attain their goals


Maxed Out Mama advocates violence

I could easily dress up this argument. Extremist is such a broad term, I could pick and choose definitions and descriptions at will. I could show selected statements from MoM’s blog that are at the extremes of popular views (I would, of course, ignore contrary examples) – I could cite polling data as evidence. I could also cite instances of notorious extremists such as the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Ku Klux Klan.

In short, I could make an argument that MoM (or just about anyone, for that matter) is an extremist.

Now, you could say, yes you made an argument, but it’s not a strong argument.

And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it?

Putting aside the problems with fuzzy terms such as postmodernist and extremist, how strong is MoM’s argument that Obama is a postmodernist?

For example, how does the anecdote of the Dartmouth professor who decided to sue her students bolster her case that Obama is a postmodernist?

If I described a vicious KKK lynching, would that strengthen my argument that MoM is an extremist?

Problem #3:

When MoM finally gets down to “proving” that Obama is a postmoderist, here’s what she says:

A “He consistently misstates or misapplies facts when necessary to build a convincing narrative*,”

She supplies a single example. No doubt she could cite more, but try this thought experiment. Could you make a case that George Bush consistently misstates or misapplies facts when necessary to build a convincing narrative. Is George Bush, therefore, a postmodernist?

B. “He seems to believe that the process of building a mutual narrative is important, and that the way to reconcile groups is to reconcile their narratives,”

Seems to believe? And you know this how? Remember, you’re the one who believes in objective meaning. There is no evidence cited to support this assertion. Even if there were, what does it mean? Also, could we use this sentence to describe Ronald Reagan or Rodney King?

C. “His own description of the impact Wright had on him was focused on the power of Wright's narrative”

Try this: The description of the impact Hagee (or Reagan or Lincoln) had on him was focused on the power of Hagee’s narrative.

D. “His unwillingness to disavow Wright's narrative (to post-modernists, disavowing a group or individual narrative is equivalent to attacking the group or individual)”

Is there any evidence that contradicts this statement? From the Philadelphia speech alone we find this:

“Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.”

Unwillingness to disavow? Could you be more dishonest? Oh, he didn’t disavow enough, is that your position?

Likewise, “McCain’s unwillingness to disavow Hagee’s narrative” works nicely to prove that McCain is a postmodernist.

E. “His actual tactics may have nothing to do with his narrative.”

I’m not following. How does this demonstrate that Obama is a postmodernist? Now if you were arguing that Obama is a hypocrite or a “typical politician”, sure, but isn’t that another argument entirely?

In summary, aren’t you just a little embarrassed that you tried to argue that Obama is a postmodernist who doesn’t believe in objective meaning in the first place?

I would stick to analyzing oil prices.

One last thing. Isn’t it just a little ironic that someone who highlights the importance of objective meaning and the scientific method writes this:

“With Obama, the play's the thing, and he prays for a muse of fire, not in order to correctly depict what has happened on his small stage, but in order to construct a vision which will control the future. He loved the bit about the black Jesus because it worked, not because it was accurate, nor was it even necessary. If you do believe that Jesus is the sinless Son of God, Lord knows there's a difference between him and the rest of us.”

You’re deconstructing Obama. We’re all postmodernists now.

That’s hilarious.

“. . . in a way that is often indistinguishable from a parody of itself.”

Haggee is not and never has been McCain's pastor. Rev Wright was Obama's pastor for 20 years. The two are not compatible comparisions.
Teri makes a good point. John McCain is a Christian. It's hard to say that about Obama, especially when you read things like this from his wikipedia biography:

"During this period in Chicago, Obama had extramarital affairs, the Obama's marriage began to falter, and he would later accept blame. . . . In April 1989,[54] Obama met and began a relationship with Michelle Obama, a lawyer from Chicago.[57] Also in 1989, he pushed to end his marriage with his wife Carol, who accepted his request for a divorce in February 1990; the divorce became effective in April 1990."

It's also hard for me to believe that the Democrats know anything about Christianity when they pull stunts like this:

"An anonymous smear campaign began against McCain, delivered by push polls, faxes, e-mails, flyers, and audience plants.[109][124] The smears claimed that McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock (the McCains' dark-skinned daughter was adopted from Bangladesh), that his wife Cindy was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual, and that he was a "Manchurian Candidate" who was either a traitor or mentally unstable from his North Vietnam POW days.[109][118] The Obama campaign strongly denied any involvement with the attacks."

Right. Who but Obama and the Democrats had the motive to launch these attacks. This is straight out of the Democrat Party handbook.

The Republican Party and John McCain stand for something: family, honesty, honor.
Maxed Out Mama posted an excerpt from Obama's Philadelphia race speech, which she used to mock him.

Fair enough. That's her right.

Here's the part of that speech that resonated with me:

"For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change."

Is it possible to rise above the unbelievably crude and stupid back and forth. You know, the:

- Obama's a postmodernist! McCain's a reactionary!

- Reverend Wright! Pastor Hagee!

- Card carrying liberal! Right wing nutjob!

Is it so much to ask for just a bit of intelligence and perspective?
You know, here's another thing that really gets me. I heard some lefties whining about this Doug Kmiec guy complaining about being denied communion because he endorsed Obama.


Look, he's a professor. He's a leftist liberal. To call him a post-modernist is kind.

I'm sorry, but if you endorse Obama over McCain, you should not only be denied communion, but you should be thrown out of the church. That's what Jesus would have done.
Hey, can't we discuss oil prices on this thread? There are two other Obama ones.

But I have to ask - am I nuts or isn't McCain divorced? I just don't think it's fair or accurate to describe either party as being the this or that. The parties are made out of various individuals and supported by various individuals. They are never going to be all one thing or another.

The parties don't even control their membership; it's a matter of all the voters selecting whoever they think best out of the candidates, not a centralized party picking the candidates. Since in a lot of places independents are determining elections, it's even possible for someone to be elected as a Dem or Rep for a district without receiving the majority of Dem or Rep votes.

I also think it is completely unfair to imply that every divorced person is a rotten person.
John McCain a christian lol. McCain dumped his old wife for "Cindy" and then has x amount of extramarital affairs.

Christianity is anti-western in nature and should be thrown from western civilization. It began the downfall. I would love seeing the Vatican destroyed and thrown from our lands. When the Gods return, Christianity will fall apart. They will know it is a hoax and Jesus is one spirit among many. The Aryans will rebel returning to its natural creators.

FWIW, Jesus would socialize the means of production. Literally. Maybe you should know what "Jesus would do" and then understand. Our soul is individual but physical world is not. We should share and live in common in the physical world.

Marx tried to eliminate the spirtual side which caused his downfall. Yet, he was influenced by Jesus as much as anybody.

You people aren't "Christian" and never will be as long as you live in sin(capitalism is a sin).
Um, excuse me, but couldn't help notice that our kind host has "World Net Daily" prominently listed in the links section on the right.

Could that, you know, provide a clue to what's going on here with the Obama bashing?

The US Constitution link is outstanding and all, and Dave Barry is harmless, but World Net Daily?

Oh, what's this?

OK, it's getting clearer.

Instapundit.com? Right.

Polipundit.com? Not real familiar. Hummm. Edwards scandal? DeMint a hero once again? Both Ways Barack? Gavin Newson's Body Count? Yeah, this is . . . substantial. Informative.

beldar.blogs.com? MSM covers up both Obama's arrogance and imprecision? Got it. "Last year, I wrote of Sen. Chuck Hafel (R-NE): It's not that I think he's unpatriotic. It's that I think he's too stupid to be left alone in a room with a book of matches." Very important information.

Yes, yes, every informed citizen needs precisely this type of balanced information diet.

The state of our union is strong!
Well, I also read DU just about every day. But I figure everyone knows about that one, no need to link it. Do normal people only read things that are in their expertise area or that support their views? Really? If you try to spread your political reading around, one thing jumps out. There are quite a few issues in which there is a broad consensus among voters and still no response in DC, and it's been going on for a while.

Dave Ramsey's on WND now. Good stuff.
"Do normal people only read things that are in their expertise area or that support their views?"

Ah, that was sarcasm.

The thing is, you're link list is not balanced. It's kind of tilted to the nutty side.

World Net Daily? I mean, look at the top-flight talent displayed right on top:

- Joseph Farah - Arabs 100% wrong.
- Barbara Simpson - Rush I love you
- Chuck Norris - Nancy Pelosi vs. Rush Limbaugh
- Sean Hannity - Rush Limbaugh 'Bambino' of talk

(Note to normal people: Seriously. Go look at it. You can't make this stuff up.)

The only explanation I can see is self-hatred. I mean, how could anyone open that page up every day and look at that Farah cat's mustache and Hannity's "I got a steaming load in my pants and it feels righteous" without some serious psychological pain.

Then again, the skinny redhead in the Conservative T-Shirts ad sure has a nice "Jesus wants me to mock Obama" come hither look, so . . . .
"But I have to ask - am I nuts or isn't McCain divorced?"

Yeah, you're nuts.

The guy (clemente619) took McCain's wikipedia biography and replaced McCain's name with Obama in the first entry. Looks like he changed the dates, too.

In the second entry he changed Bush to Obama.

See, he was mocking you. And the fact that you couldn't immediately see what he did is telling. You've got plenty of expertise to analyze Obama vis-a-vis post-modernism and all, but you don't have enough command of basic facts to even detect a little ruse like this.

In other words, you're a fraud.
Test question: can you tell how he's mocking you with the Kmiec stuff?
Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept.

Published: July 29, 2008

Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.

. . .

Another prosecutor was rejected for a job in part because she was thought to be a lesbian. And a Republican lawyer received high marks at his job interview because he was found to be sufficiently conservative on the core issues of “god, guns + gays.”


Would you look at this crap the New York Times serves up?

Thank god World Net Daily would never run this tripe.
I can't wait to hear what Rush has to say about this tomorrow.

Rush is a really smart man.

He teaches me.

I laugh every time he says "algore".

Boy, he sure doesn't like Nancy Pelosi or Dingy Harry, though.

Sometimes I have difficulty reconciling Rush's three failed marriages, his drug addiction and his unabashed hatred for so many of God's children with a Christ-centered life, but then I pray to Jesus, and he tells me to do whatever Rush says.
Ever notice how postmodernists (like anon here below me) never try to defend their own actions, or the actions of other postmodernists, they just try to "prove" that anyone else is as bad as they are.

Muslims do the same. 9/11 "was acceptable" "because of the crusades". Note how Stalin, Hitler and so on were of similar opinions. America was not more moral than the Nazi Germany government, explains one New York Times article, since the US "also had prisoners". The funny thing, the first thing satan does in the bible (new testament) is exactly this : describing to Jesus how he's "really the same" as Satan. Needless to say, he was not fooled, neither should we be.

Whether Obama is evil is an objective measure of his character, just like any other human being. And I for one, question the motives of this "anonymous" guy.

His argument :
#1 postmodernism doesn't exist
#2 that Obama promises to support terrorists is morally equivalent to MoM's observation that morality exists in the first place (stating that some things are morally wrong is "extremist")
#3 even though Obama's acts and words match the description of postmodernism that MoM uses (disbelief in objective reality), Obama can't be postmodernist since I've changed the definition of postmodernism to an inconsistent jumble

Anonymous, just because something is unclear in your mind does not mean, at all, that it is unclear. Just because you don't know what the 500th prime number is doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or that it has no properties. Just because you don't know what something is, is NOT proof that it does not exist.

Just because you don't believe in objective reality doesn't mean it does not exist. If you really think that such is the case I suggest the following test : jump of a building, reading a course about how you're going to survive the fall without a scratch. If it works, I'm certain you'll get to explain how postmodernism is the truth on national television. And if it doesn't work, you'll stop making idiotic "objective reality doesn't exist" speeches. And it probably will at least make the local news.

Postmodernists are not Christians it seems : they do not strive for excellence. They're just "some degree of evil", which they were born with, and try to "prove" everyone else is worse, or at best equal. Obviously such proofs are valid even though they don't believe in objective reality. They do not try to improve their own morality, by changing their actions or their words.

Our good friend Anonymous seems to be turning into a non-stop troll, hiding rational comments with his stream-of-consciousness bashing of anything right of the left end of the scale, anything traditional, etc.

Perhaps it is time to go to a registered name/comment system? I hate to say that as I truly dislike those but wading through this gibberish to get to "real" comments and feedback from non-trolls is quite a chore.

And I doubt he will leave on his own...

There are plenty of sites where Daily Kos readers vent their spleen - let's not make this one of them.

Just a suggestion..

That was a fine piece of satire. I salute you, sir.

I especially like how you were able to bring up 9/11, Muslims, Stalin, Hitler, Nazi Germany and the New York Times in the first four sentences.

I also appreciate the subtle touch of stating unequivocally that Obama is evil while allowing that, well, aren’t we all? Nicely done.

And, of course, any satire aimed at the Jesus Hates Democrats And Atheist Lefties must include at least a passing reference to Satan. (Although I must say that I’m disappointed you didn’t weave backwards masking in there.)

But the real good stuff is when you tear Mr. Anonymous’ arguments apart. That is hilarious. You’ve captured that blunt obtuseness of this type of person so well. The clueless misunderstanding of the arguments while maintaining a tone of superiority. The adept use of counter arguments to statements never made – like the “jump off a building and then tell me if there’s such a thing as objective reality” shtick. Marvelous.

Lastly, that harping on the “postmodernists” is a riot. It’s as if you could substitute any nonsensical word and the writer would argue just as vehemently. As in:

Badgers are not Christians it seems : they do not strive for excellence.

Oh, and the use of the colon in the “space, colon, space” format is a deft touch.

As I said, that’s simply great satire, Tomcpp. It’s not easy to do, but like a good method actor, you just have to immerse yourself into the subject. What I find difficult, is to enter a mind and worldview filled with such fear, ignorance and lack of self-awareness. It’s a tough trick to pull off, but you have executed it flawlessly.
Yeah, let me tell you one thing here, Mr. Anonymous. I don't put any stock into what anyone said that is too chicken shit to sign their name to their opinions. You remind me a lot of the sexual spam my church website is hit with. Really, go bother someone else. And, if Obama supporters can't deal with the idea of people who aren't in love with their idol, they need to get a grip too.
Chicken shit?

What would Jesus say, Teri?
Look Mr. Anonymous. It’s obvious you are not a Christian and don’t know anything about Jesus’ love. So blow it out your ass, you homo-post-mordernist-commie-evil-guy.

Here’s what you need to know about us Christians. We love America. You hate America. Do you see the difference?

Some people have said Obama is a Christian. What a laugh. Here’s what a Christian looks like. (This list is from my Pastor’s newsletter.)

A Christian gives two thumbs up to:

- America. The Founding Fathers were evangelical Christians.

- Freedom. Jesus talked all the time about freedom. But he also knew that freedom isn’t free.

- The Troops. Jesus is adamantly pro-defense. He said in Matthew, “Trust but verify.”

- The Republican Party. It’s the only party that sticks up for America, Freedom and The Troops, so God is with us. And Jesus too.

A Christian gives two big thumbs down to:

- The French. Jesus is all about victory, and the French are surrender monkeys. Jesus doesn’t like most of the Europeans either, but he really hates the French.

- Gays. Jesus was very clear about this in the Old Testament. Doing icky gay things is way worser than coveting your neighbors ass.

- Democrat Party. God doesn’t like leftist atheist appeasers. He would kill them with a flood or plague or something, but Jesus won’t let him because it conflicts with his Love and Peace thing. But one of these days, Jesus might not be around and maybe God will just lay a Holy Smite on their sorry butts, so watch it you San Francisco values sodomites!

- Post-modernists. Because they don’t believe in objective meaning. Jesus tells us quite clearly that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in objective reality, and you can verify this through peer-reviewed scientific studies, just like with creation science.

- Illegal Immigrants. Because they steal jobs from honest hardworking white Americans. Plus they commit crimes. I don’t know why Jesus loves white Americans more, but you can see that he does when you come to my church.

So when you look at this list, does Obama look like a Christian?

Well, he hates America, Freedom and The Troops. And he’s not in the Republican Party, so that pretty much eliminates him from a Christ-loving lifestyle.

And just to make sure, you can check off a bunch of those items from the second list. I mean, he just visited France, didn’t he. And he’s a card carrying post-modernist.

So, Mr. Anonymous, what do you have to say now? Yeah, there’s not much you can say.

I’ll give you some advice: You better watch it! Jesus doesn’t like chicken shit pussies!
Puuuulllleeeezzz? Can you do something?

Oil is probably an $85 product, $65 content and $20 political premium. For reference oil traded with a negative political premium post Gulf War I. IMO the difference twixt $85 and $120 is still speculative. $100 oil is more than enough to create demand destruction. Oil has to drop below $100 and I predict that since not everyone is as smart as you and I that the bottom will be only down to $96.
Rob Dawg,

Serious question: do you take MoM's analysis seriously?

Did you see any "analysis" is the Obama-is-a-post-modernist screed?

Do you see World Net Daily as a credible source?

Why would you, whom I see as a perceptive person on other blogs, turn to a Rush Limbaugh Christian idealogue for analysis?
Theodore Butler on SilverSeek http://news.silverseek.com/TedButler/1217265595.php blames speculators for $15-20 of the price per barrel. He blames SemGroup for a lot of it:

"In this case, it’s easy to see, based upon the timeline, how SemGroup’s trading debacle influenced oil prices, first up, then down. As the end came near for SemGroup’s large, increasing short position, that position was forcibly bought back (probably by SemGroup’s lead broker, said to be Barclays). This accounted, by my calculations, for the last $15 to $20 increase in the price of oil, up to the $147 price high. When the forced buyback of the short position was concluded, a buying void was suddenly created and prices then fell $20+ to date. So, not only did SemGroup manage to lose over $3 billion and go bankrupt in the process, it also dramatically influenced the price of oil and fuel for the rest of the world."

It's interesting, but I'm not sure I entirely agree.
Hey MoM,

Are you going to write a post about McCain is a postmodernist?

Look at this quote from the McCain campaign itself:

McCain's advisers said they do not intend to back down from the charge, believing it an effective way to create a "narrative" about what they say is Obama's indifference toward the military.

It comes from this story in the Washington Post:


McCain Charge Against Obama Lacks Evidence

By Michael D. Shear and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 30, 2008; Page A01
It seems the anonymous folks that want to keep talking about Obama on this thread seem to have a problem keeping their discourse polite. It would be far better to discuss the Obama issue on the threads set up for that purpose.

MaxedoutMama has also made comments about McCain that were critical; she is not simply blasting Obama. Her conclusions about Obama were based on her perception of reality. In response a number of those attacks were personal. Obama does come from the pseudo-intellectual world view, and MaxedoutMama’s points do not seem to be fundamentally addressed by the criticism posted in the last three threads on this topic. I do not mean to say that the person posting is not making good points, just that they do not really address the fundamental theory put forward by MaxedoutMama. Perhaps it is because the range of the counter comments seems to have such a broad sweep as to be capable of any interpretation.

Assuming the person posting would like to really debate this, I would suggest that the repost on the second string, and deal with each point in a linear order. As a casual reader, I am now interested in his, as I do wonder which interpretation is correct.

So some questions from a reader for both Maxed out Mama and the Anonymous poster.

1) It seems that a lot of Obamas speeches back up Maxed out Mama’s hypothesis. Is there any evidence to indicate that these speeches are just political talk or do they accurately reflect his worldview? I.E. is the manner of his speech, which seems to have a lot to do with how arguments are framed in the black church a reflection of that experience, or do they reflect his actual world view.
2) Obama has spent a lot of time doing campaigning, but not much time doing anything else. He has no set of accomplishments in any field other than learning insitutions and winning political office. Now in those two areas he is very impressive, has shown great skills and has made quite a name for himself. Nonetheless, both of those fields he is accomplished in are long on talk and short on actual actions. There is a great deal of difference in talking about a problem and actual doing something about it. That he has no real accomplishments outside of these two areas seems to back up Maxed out Mamas point of view. Most people know fellows like this, who always think they have great abilities but have never really done anything and so have not learned the hard lessons that life teaches. Maxed out Mama has made a good case why this background indicates Obama is a post modernist.

I for one would like to hear those two points addressed. The poster who defended Obama seems to have faith in the man, and if Maxed out Mamas point is wrong, I for one would like to know why her opinion is wrong.

Hope to read about this on the other thread
"Maxed out Mama has made a good case why this background indicates Obama is a post modernist."

1. Define postmodernist.

2. Demonstrate, using your definition in #1, how Obama is a postmodernist, but McCain (or Reagan or Alan Greenspan or Tom Bosley)is not.

A couple of observations:

"Her conclusions about Obama were based on her perception of reality."

That, my friend, sounds like a postmodernist. And tell me, how does "her perception of reality" square with objective meaning?

"Obama does come from the pseudo-intellectual world view . . . ."

1. Are we to accept this as a given fact? Axiomatic? A priori?

2. What exactly is a "pseudo-intellectual world view"?

"Is there any evidence to indicate that these speeches are just political talk or do they accurately reflect his worldview?"

Answer: Yes. (And that applies to politicians of both major parties.)

"Most people know fellows like this, who always think they have great abilities but have never really done anything and so have not learned the hard lessons that life teaches."

Yes, I know several U.S. Senators that exactly fit this description.

Are you freakin' serious? I think most reasonable people would consider being elected Harvard Law Review president is an accomplishment. Likewise, most people would consider being elected U.S. Senator an accomplishment. They might even consider that someone who has become the first black American nominated to become U.S. President to be, you know, an accomplishment.

Let's hear your list of accomplishments. I can readily admit that both obama and McCain have accomplished far more in their lives than I have in mine.

Let's compare George Bush's list of accomplishments at age 47.

You really need to try a little harder than that.
Look, here's the crux of the problem. MoM wrote:

"Post-modernists truly do not believe in objective meaning."

He strong implication was: Obama is a post-modernist, and he does not believe in objective meaning.

Why not just say "Obama is a drizzle-frumpkin, and he does not believe in objective meaning"?

Why not just say, "Obama is a politician, and he does not believe in truth?"

1. Post-modernist is such a fuzzy term it has very little if any meaning.

2. Even if you can overcome the problem with #1, you need to persuade an audience that Obama is a post-modernist (or a drizzle-frumpkin). MoM attempted to do this in a subsequent post by, for example, writing:

"He seems to believe that the process of building a mutual narrative is important, and that the way to reconcile groups is to reconcile their narratives"

Seriously. If you can't see the many problems with this, then . . .

Off the top of my head, here are some of the difficulties with her "argument":

- What does this mean?! It sure looks like drivel to me.

- "He seems to believe" -- Come on. How does she know this? Is she reaching into his head?

- Her own words sound pretty much like a post-modernist (or more accurately, a deconstructionist). So, she's proving that Obama is a bad post-modernist by being a bad post-modernist herself?

- What is "objective meaning"? She doesn't define it. She doesn't say how one determines objective meaning. She just puts it out there as a given. AND she knows, she just KNOWS that Obama doesn't believe in objective meaning. So, in her SUBJECTIVE mind, she know that Obama does not believe in OBJECTIVE meaning!

Lastly, if you took MoM's arguments for why Obama is a post-modernist, you could easily apply them to just about anyone on the planet -- McCain, Bush, Churchill, Stephen King -- so what exactly has she proved?

Why try to defend her?

She couldn't defend herself.
"Let's compare George Bush's list of accomplishments at age 47."

Oh, that sound like fun.

Let's see, GWB was born in 1946, so he have been 47 years old in 1993. What had W. accomplished by that time?

Quotes from Wikipedia.

1946: Born to wealthy parents. Grandfather a U.S. Senator.

1968: Graduates from Yale - not with honors. "By his own characterization, he was an average student."

1968: Texas National Guard

1973-1976: Harvard Business School. "During this time Bush had multiple accounts of alcohol abuse.[31]"

1978: Loses election for House Of Rep.

1978-1988: Oil industry.

1988: Works on dad's presidential campaign.

1989-1994: ". . . purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years."

There you go. By age 47, that's what George W. Bush had accomplished.

Oh, and his family had quite a bit of money, and his dad was a successful man -- you know, Vice-President and President, that kind of successful.
Let's look at what John McCain had accomplished by age 47.

(Note: McCain was a war hero. He deserves praise and respect for his service. This time line in no way is meant to diminish what he went through in that regard.)

Born 1936, so he was 47 years old in 1983.

Quotes from Wikipedia.

1936: Born in Panama Canal zone. Father in Navy - eventually reached the rank of Admiral. Grandfather also reached Admiral rank.

1958: Graduates from U.S. Naval Acadmemy. "McCain came into conflict with higher-ranking personnel. He did not always obey the rules, and this contributed to a low class rank (894 of 899) that he did not aim to improve."

1960: Graduated from Navy flight school.

1966: Requested combat duty in Vietnam.

1967: Shot down and captured. POW until release in 1973. Severely wounded and tortured.

1974: Rehabilitation from war injuries. Naval War College.

1976: Commanding office of training squadron in Florida.

1977: Navy liaison to U.S. Senate

1981: Retires from Navy. Seventeen military awards and decorations.

1981: Works for father-in-law at beer distributorship.

1982: Elected to House of Representatives.

So, compared to Obama, McCain had much less experience in elected office by the age of 47.

However, Obama has no military service, while McCain was a veteran who had been wounded in combat and imprisoned for 5 1/2 years.

Perhaps, we can all agree that George W. Bush possessed the fewest accomplishments at age 47.

One other point: McCain and Bush were helped by their families. Most reasonable people will agree that Obama did not enjoy the benefits associated with a wealthy and/or connected family.
Postmodernism is like Rap music...no talent required

Postmodernism is ultimately meaningless. It invalidates itself by its own argument. It rejects the idea of objective knowledge and posits that all knowledge is subjective, and truth is relative and personal. All points of view and conclusions can be both true and false at the same time. Obama’s flip flops thus have little impact on the media, or his true believers.

There is a contradictory tone to Postmodernism in that it cannot be true in any objective sense as it posits all viewpoints being subjective. The fundamental paradox from which Postmodernists cannot escape is that Postmodernism cannot use its own principles to justify itself.

No one seemed to even know what Postmodernism is, or have a working definition of it. A shared definition of Postmodernism doesn't exist, as that is the point of Postmodernism. Those who call themselves postmodernists reject such a shared definition. To ask MaxedOutMama to provide one is disingenuous at best. The impenetrable jargon of Postmodernism is no mistake, there is nothing of substance to understand, it is daft absurdity by design. Without the pretentious gibberish to provide cover it would become quickly obvious that it was simply infantile nihilism. It is pseudo-intellectual posturing in which people try to look profound by acting in an unbelievably stupid fashion. Modern art is a good example of this sort of behaviour.

In short, words mean nothing to them. This is why they so often utilize incendiary rhetoric, as words hold little objective meaning for them. Dancing around definitions, adopting scientific jargon, or imposing tortuous definitions on existing words in an attempt to render them meaningless. They will demand that you define what you mean by words in an attempt to play semantic games. They define a word to mean anything they want it to mean. How do you argue with something like that? The answer is you don't, and that's entirely the point!

The core of the political left has gone off the rails, finding itself incapable of defending its positions in a rational world. Postmodernists are all committed leftists. This is why the moral relativism they espouse doesn’t lead to any great variety of opinion among them. The collapse of socialism as a viable alternative to capitalism left the ‘Bitter-Enders’ without an argument. Postmodernism gives them cover by introducing an irrational world in which their failing arguments and real-world failures (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, etc) are 'true for them'. It’s the intellectual equivalent of “La La La I’m Not Listening La La La”.

Obama does in fact display the schizophrenic behaviour of Postmodernism.

Obama has spoken of the need to apologize for historical wrongs that were not the actions of any living individual, but rather blame is laid in a communal sense. We should certainly learn from history, but to feel any personal guilt for the actions of those long dead is simply bizarre. To a Postmodernist this makes sense as they believe in a community or group forging a story or narrative with little account taken of personal responsibility.

Barack Obama makes his followers feel hopeful, and for them this is their story/narrative and is their reality. Logic and rationality has little to do with it and no amount of logical argument will change that. Reality becomes a matter of opinion and consensus. They are perfectly aware that their positions don't make any sense and have designed a justification to explain that absurdity. They deny the power of reason or logic, and that is precisely why they increasingly resemble one of the ancient ‘mystery religions’.
Travis b,

Point to a single American politician who has said, "I am a postmodernist."

A single one.

You can't do it, can you?

Heck, I'll bet you'll be hard pressed to find a prominent artist or architect that will say they are a postmodernist.

It's a term that has lost all meaning, if it ever had any.

It describes the period after modernism. It describes most anything and nothing.

But most importantly, no living person, to my knowledge says "I am a postmodernist."

I think you guys should go back to "card carrying liberal".

At least that was tied to a small scrap of reality.
They tend to call themselves Liberals, or increasingly these days, Progressives. There is no American politician who calls himself a Hegelian, Hobbesian, etc. The influence of a philosophy is not dictated by the self identification of its adherences. Most college students would not call themselves hedonists, nor would most philosophy majors call themselves dilettante's.

As I explained regarding Postmodernism, it was never intended to hold any logical meaning! That's the entire point of what Postmodernism is trying to achieve. It's a square circle.
So, I guess the answer is, no, you can't point to a single postmodernist.

What would you call yourself?

"That's the entire point of what Postmodernism is trying to achieve."

But who is doing this, Travis, my man, who is doing this?

If no people are doing this, is it some kind of force, like gravity or mojo?

I know you "explained" it to me. It's just that I find your explanation, well, nutty and incoherent.
Who is doing this? I would hazard a guess that perhaps ‘Liberals and Progressives’ might be the culprits. Or even, say… college Philosophy majors with too much time on their hands!

Reading comprehension is your friend!

A Liberal attempting to use logic is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to see it done at all.
Oh, liberals and progressives.

OK, got it now. Sorry, I missed that.

Those liberals and progressives are very bad people. I agree with you.

You have made a very strong case.
Hey now...I don't want you to concede the point because your arguments are weak; do it because you know I'm right!
Travis, you're not just right, you're special.
To Anonymous Poster:

You did not respond to either of the questions that were asked of you, instead you broke into at least two separate attacks. While I am tempted to think you are what would commonly be called a troll, for the time being I will attempt to respond in a civil manner and assume that it is simply a failure to communicate. If I am wrong, it is no matter, for if you are simply trolling perhaps this response will give you some pleasure in getting a rise and it is enjoyable for me to at least to attempt a civil discourse with you. The truth is I am interested to know if Mr. Obama is what MaxedOutMama says he is or not. As you represent the alternative side I would like to see clear arguments that explain why she is wrong. You had some good points, particularly as it related to McCain comparisons, but frankly with your sort of shotgun approach to answering, I still think Maxed Out Mama makes a better overall case. That said her evidence is not definitive and I note in each election there is lots of monkey-poo being flung around. You have done a decent job of pointing out where some of the allegations against Mr. Obama could be applied back at the accusers and that Mr. McCain is not free of sin in this area. But frankly you have not addressed Maxed Out Mamas fundamental point, which is that Obama comes from a tradition of Post Modernism, his speeches are full of it and many of his supposed solutions seems to reflect that world view. If you are serious about changing minds you will have to engage in a reasoned approach, not fling monkey-poo at those making an argument (even if you feel they cast the first monkey-poo)

Now to your response. The main objection you seemed to have is with my comment about lack of accomplishments outside of school and politics for Mr. Obama. Let me explain. I stated he has done well in both those areas. He is without doubt also an excellent politician and charismatic speaker. The lack of accomplishments I was referring to was in the area of actually doing anything in the real world. Much of school, at least in none technical areas involve lots of talking and persuasive use of language. In the real world, fancy language does not actually get anything done, concrete actions do. As an example, if someone is drowning in a river, stating you are for better lifesaving equipment in the hands of police will not solve the problem, however correct or true the comments are. It is the individual that leaps into the breach and saves the person, dealing with reality as it is, rather than trying to redefine how reality should be, who gets the job done. Maxed Out Mama has made a case that Obama is more closer in form to the person who sits by and talks about what needs to be done that the person who would go out and do it.

In looking at Mr. Obama’s resume, it seems he has had positions where talking is the primary output, not actions. His time in the legislator, both state and Federal seems to have been primary directed towards getting prepared for higher office, not actually addressing any real problems. He has a rather thin set of legislative accomplishments, if what I read is true (his state record was enhanced by having his name inserted on sponsoring pieces of legislation to prepare him for his federal run or so say several people connected to Springfield politics). He has never had a job where he actually had to solve real world problems. He has not had, so far as I can see any job in the real world that involves actually producing a product, saving a life or otherwise putting his reputation on the line in regards allowing people to judge his physical work or actions. Instead he has inhabited the world of elite institutions, trendy social activism and legislative work, all areas where ones responsibility is muted and ill defined. McCain, for all his faults (and he has many) has. Further he has shown that he holds some principles to be dearer than his own life and well being. Mr. Obama has not.

Now that may not mean he is a Post modernist, but it makes it more likely he is. Those that play with words and have never had to deal with reality in its harshest form tend in this direction, not because they are bad but because objective reality is less real to them then the pretty concepts they verbally hash out in fashionable coffee houses. The problem is that such a world view does not do particularly well when it is forced to deal with objective reality and there is no one else to go actually solve the problem (or fix the plumbing). As it would have been said by the last generation, people who have not had a few failures in the real world have not had a chance to develop their character. Character is an expensive commodity and there is no evidence Obama has had any such chance to develop his in the school of hard knocks. That is what I meant by his lack of accomplishments.

Now you asked me about my accomplishments. I do not see that they are relevant, but perhaps there is some reason why they are. You specifically asked anyway. They are not extensive, but they are firmly seated in the real world and not in the world of talky-talk. First I have a BS and MS in engineering, degrees which I use to earn my daily bread. I am a design engineer and I expect that about 40 percent of people in the US have a set top box that has one of my designs or a variant of one of my designs in them. I have written a few technical papers, nothing all that impressive, but if you had my real name you could goggle me and I would come up, for all the value that has. I have worked on all sorts of designs which are or were being used in the real world over the last 25 years. They range from a ultrasonic tester used for aircraft structural integrity testing (I designed the echo correction module), a system that allows steel mills to produce rolled sheet steel of increased finish uniformity, several radar controllers for both the older magnetron type and also the axis and gimble control module for the tornado fighter bomber/F4 Israeli fighter-bomber. I have worked on power applications for subs (leading tech work), software analysis programs for missile detection and even worked on communication systems for the old Migetman missile of the late 1980s. I did not come from a particularly well off family, so in getting those degrees I had to work my way through school. In doing that I picked up various skills and can do a wide range of physical trades such as electrical, plumbing, some car work, and I am even a fair to middling janitor when the occasion rises.

As most men need a calling outside of work, so do I, and the area I pursued was mastering the U.S. military service rifle. I have a few awards there, again if you goggled my real name you would find me coming up in that area. I have competed and won medals in Australia, Canada and of course the US of A, reached the highest individual rating possible (High Master). I have represented my home state three years at the US nationals. Because of this I was selected with other advanced rifleman to help out with training of US service personal in a program called the Squad Designated Marksman. I will be heading down to Fort Benning this September for just such a training session.

I also have a social conscious. I help train our children to use assault rifles efficiently, just this March I was out at Fort Indiantown gap helping young ROTC cadets learn how to shoot. I coached my state juniors to a third place win back in the 1990’s. Seeing the smile on their face when they realize they can connect at 300 and 600 meters each and ever time they fire makes it all worthwhile. This is why my nom de guerre is Mr. sensitive. Of course on the net I could be lying. So if you like I will provide my credentials to MaxedOutMama off line, and she can confirm them to you, if for any reason that is of importance to you.

Lastly I have to mention that you have seemed to attack Maxed Out Mama for her position. Your attack on more than one occasion was personal in nature, not directed towards her arguments. Now If she refuses to respond, that is her business, but personal; attacks do not help your cause. If you are in fact sure of your position, take the time to clarify it, without attack and I think you stand a much better chance at changing peoples minds.
Allow me to summarize:

Paragraph 1: Monkey-poo not good.

Paragraph 2: Obama all talk, no action.

Paragraph 3: Obama all talk, no action.

Paragraph 4: Post modernist bad; objective reality good.

Paragraph 5: I’m reluctant to speak of my accomplishments, but here are 309 words.

Paragraph 6: I’m still reluctant, so how about 125 more.

Paragraph 7: Hell, I’m on a roll, what’s 124 more.

Paragraph 8: Monkey-poo not good.

So, um, what was your point/question?
"So, um, what was your point/question?"

I can't speak for Mr. Sensitive but my point would be that complex thoughts and points are apparently challenging for some; a silly one-liner appears more suitable for those.
"complex thoughts and points are apparently challenging for some"

It appears that rather simple ones are stumping you, originalfrank.

When you can figure out Clemente in the top thread, come on back and play the wise sage.
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