Archive for February 23rd, 2011

The Republican outrage machine misfires for a brief second.

Feb 23, 2011 in Politics

I have a hard time keeping up with all of the things Republicans expect me to be outraged about so I generally tune out the constant peddling of idiotic news items that the “liberal media” churns out on a daily basis. One thing that’s guaranteed NOT to become a hot topic is a rather pointed question posed to Newt Gingrich about his many divorces and affairs:

In a question-and-answer session, Isabel Friedman, a student at the university who’s also Democratic activist, pressed Gingrich on how he squares his pro-family values with the fact he has been married three times and has admitted to two extramarital affairs.

“You adamantly oppose gay rights… but you’ve also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second,” Friedman said, in comments first reported by Politico. “As a successful politician who’s considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?”

In a video of the interaction posted on YouTube, Gingrich appeared none-too-happy with the question.

Of course he wasn’t happy. Republicans spent a good chunk of the nineties telling everyone, especially each other, that Bill Clinton’s sexual exploits was the single most important issue on the minds of Americans. Of course that wasn’t true. Clinton approval numbers surged during the Republican’s moral witch hunt and he continued to be viewed favorably by the electorate up until his departure. The man who led that charge, Newt Gingrich, was embroiled in his own extramarital affairs at the time. Ten years in exile later he needs to sweep all of that under the rug in hopes that the moral crusaders of the RW will believe his new shuck and jive about finding Jesus….again. Apparently, Newt is still under the impression that the old days of the Religious Right can be resurrected but obviously reminding Iowa caucus goers that he’s an opportunist at heart fucks up the narrative he’s been working very hard at for years.


Fantasy meets reality

Feb 23, 2011 in Politics

Oil is not part of the economy. Oil is the economy:

Oil prices may surge to $220 a barrel if political unrest in North Africa halts exports from Libya and Algeria, Nomura Holdings Inc. said.

Crude futures rose to almost $100 in New York today, the highest in more than two years, as violence in Libya threatened to disrupt exports from Africa’s third-biggest supplier. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi vowed yesterday to fight a growing rebellion until his “last drop of blood.” Protests in Algeria led to the ending of a 19-year state of emergency.

“If Libya and Algeria were to halt oil production together, prices could peak above $220 a barrel and OPEC spare capacity will be reduced to 2.1 million barrels a day, similar to levels seen during the Gulf war and when prices hit $147 in 2008,” the Tokyo-based bank said in a note today. …

“These are levels that effectively kill the global recovery,” Schork said in an interview. “You can never say never, but $220 is blatantly not sustainable.”

Nomura forecasts that a jump to $220 would probably cause a temporary collapse in global oil consumption of 2 million barrels a day. That’s more than the 1.5 million barrels of daily growth anticipated this year by the IEA.

Get used to it.

One lesson to be learned here is that with peer competitors the planet over consuming more and more of the resources that we assumed were ours there is no longer any swing capacity that would have in the past absorbed geo-political market shocks. Previously, we relied upon Saudi Arabia to open up the spigot whenever the economy needed goosing. They can no longer fulfill that role and Iraq is nowhere near a point where its infrastructure is developed and secure enough to pick up the slack.

Another lesson is that energy security is becoming increasingly reliant on local gendarmes and despots. And while corrupt dictatorships can guarantee stability in the short term they can topple quite easily when the local “Mohammedans”, as our friends on the right have lately begun referring to them, start to take matters in their own hands. The biggest nightmare scenario currently would be for the unrest to spread to Saudi Arabia and if the Abdul Aziz family goes all bets on Western Civilization are off.