Tag: Truth

Why Is Everything So Complicated?

We are the generation of the soundbite. The Tweet. The meme. We consume our information in tiny little pieces. And most of the time, that’s probably just fine. I don’t need to have a deep understanding of the cattle futures market to decide if I can afford the rib-eye this week or only cube steak. The price is the price and I either have the quan or I don’t.

But every once in a while, big events happen that raise questions. Politicians and pundits jump on these events and start spewing one-liners and soundbites that reinforce their echo chambers. Pretty soon we’re in a full-scale soundbite and meme war that leaves everyone confused and angry. What’s the truth?

I was thinking about this as I read snarky Twitter comments about energy independence, buying Russian oil, and gas prices. Everyone has an answer. Because I’m a dork, I decided to do some light reading on the energy sector and politics. Whew – there is no such thing as “light reading” about this subject! It is a deep, deep rabbit hole. It is hard to describe how many moving parts and global players there are in the energy world.

There are a whole variety of types of crude oil, all coming from different places in the world, all used for different things. Much of the recent increases in our purchase of Russian crude are due to fallout from previous sanctions on other countries like Venezuela, hurricanes in the gulf, and African countries not being able to ramp up production after Covid. We import foreign crude to the East and West coast because we lack the domestic infrastructure to transport our own oil. It’s actually cheaper to purchase non-US crude, than it is to send US crude to the East and West coast from the Midwest or gulf. We often purchase Russian (and other) crude because it has a higher sulfur content than US crude, which is needed for some specific refining processes. The worldwide crude oil market is a very interdependent and complex system. Even when we declared we were “energy independent”, that is a fuzzy interpretation with many moving parts that changed from month to month. We’d offset US products produced from crude and sold, against crude imports and for some quarters and depending upon what the meaning of “is”, is, we’d declare we had greater net exports vs. imports.

This led me to the issue of the current administration shutting down oil and gas leases. Come on, man – drill baby, drill! Well, they did attempt to put a moratorium on new leases in some areas. The courts shut that down. And currently… the Biden administration has outpaced the Trump administration in issuing drilling permits on public lands. Wait, wut? For example, just last fall the Biden admin completed the largest oil and gas lease in US history – 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. Sigh, I’m so confused.

What’s my point? I don’t care what the Fox, CNN, or Twitter pundit says… virtually every issue you’d like to discuss is infinitely more complex than you think it is. Nothing is black and white, yes or no. It takes years for industry and policy experts to develop a real understanding of their domain. I did a tiny bit of reading this morning beyond Twitter, and quickly realized I know absolutely zero about the energy sector. It has tentacles in transportation, logistics, commodity markets, politics, money supply, production, jobs, and on and on. I think it would take at least a semester equivalent class to have at least a beginners grasp on the entirety of the market. And I think that holds true for most things in life. Geopolitics, military strategy, history, everything…

All of which is to reinforce my standard saying… Question everything. Be a Contrarian. It’s ok to endorse the Left or Right’s approach to the world. Just don’t do it blindly. They’re both equal manipulators of the narrative. And under the surface, things are often more complex than you realize.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple

Oscar Wilde

What Did You Learn?

As we wrap up Pandemia year two, you have to ask yourself one question. What did you learn? Well, what is it punk? Sorry, couldn’t resist. On the last day of the year, I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and scrolling through the bottomless pit that is Twitter. And what’s the number one trending hashtag on Twitter at the moment? #AOCLovesDeSantis Why? Because our pal, the mask wearing – vaccine mandate loving – Ron DeSantis hating – Ted Cruz travel critic – and fun loving socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was caught in Miami sipping cocktails in the sun while NYC suffers a massive Covid outbreak, and she was, GASP, completely maskless! And that hypocrisy is the perfect summation of the year.

If you haven’t learned the lesson yet, then you either haven’t been paying attention or have your head so far up the establishment’s butt it may be too late to unplug you. The lesson? It’s time to come worship at the Church of Contrarianism. Timothy Leary had it right in the 60’s when he popularized the slogan “Question Authority”. You need to be a contrarian. YOU NEED TO QUESTION EVERYTHING. Why? The “experts” are very often wrong. Politicians are wrong AND they lie. The establishment and deep state only care about maintaining the status quo and will go through extraordinary lengths to keep it. The media is ungodly corrupt and is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the state. The Fed, financial institutions, and the markets could care less about the (your) future – only about continually propping up the system to enrich themselves and the rest of the establishment today.

I don’t mean this to sound like a dark, dystopian vision and to imply that we’re all doomed. We might be – but the good news is that this is not new. Politics has always been corrupt. As our friend Mark Twain said way back in the late 1800’s, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason”. The robber barons of the same time period manipulated, stole, lied and bribed their way to vast fortunes. They were the Amazons, Alphabet, and Metaverse of today. Pulitzer and Hearst were the vanguard of yellow journalism, collectively shaping the countries opinions (and politicians) to their worldview. There is nothing unique about today.

It’s a clear cycle. Are we simply in the sixth version of the Matrix? (vague geeky reference, sorry) You’re not going to fix it. All you can do is ensure you’ve unplugged yourself from the source. Be a Contrarian. Question what you see. Become ungovernable. Do what you can to hold politicians accountable. Question the conventional wisdom.

Don’t forget, the “experts” filled in skateparks at the beach so kids couldn’t go outside, skate and catch the ‘rona. Surfers were arrested on the beach for surfing… alone. The Michigan governor said you could go to Home Depot, but couldn’t buy paint or garden supplies. The covid virus requires you to wear a mask walking into a restaurant, but you’re safe as soon as you sit down. We need a vaccine mandate because it will prevent you from transmitting the virus to others. Jessie Smollet and Bubba Wallace were victims of hate crimes. The Covington kid and Kyle Rittenhouse are white supremacists. The Fed said the current inflation is transitory and the White House Chief of Staff thinks that economically ’21 “wasn’t all that bad”. The savior of the right, Trump, raised half a billion dollars to “stop the steal”, yet spent only $9 million on lawyers. The Trump machine are grifters just like the rest of the politicians. There literally is no difference between the democratic party and the republican party. The current debt is $30 Trillion. We grew that equally under both parties. The Russian dossier, the “very fine people” hoax, Hunter’s laptop, the Epstein/Maxwell coverups, and the pièce de résistance… the Jan 6 INSURRECTION.

Whew! That was a weird stream of consciousness outpouring, off the top of my head. The point is that what you first read, hear, or watch is rarely the “actual” truth. It takes time and multiple observers to sort through opinion, innuendo, political narratives, and outright lies to uncover the tiny kernel of reality. This is true for the left, right, “scientists”, and social media keyboard warriors. Question. Question everything.

“The science is settled”. “Scientists say…”. “Denier”. “Consensus”. “Experts tell us”. “The majority of people want…”. “The polling is clear”.

Anytime you hear any of those phrases, remember the teaching of the Church of Contrarianism and recite the magic words – BULLSHIT! Something is true when there’s plenty of data and lots of independent parties find the same result and the negative hypothesis is not true. Until then it’s just guessing and opinion.

I’d be ok with opinion and guessing if it was done in good faith. Unfortunately, it rarely is. In the last year have you heard one public official, scientist, or authoritarian figure say, “we were wrong” or “data is indicating something different than we first thought”? Nope. Saving face and politics is way more important than admitting you made a decision without all the data.

It’s all very depressing. But it doesn’t have to be. Join me in the practice of Contrarianism and feel the cowl of the media machine and deep state being pulled away from your eyes. Unplug from the mindless nightly “news” talking heads spouting the same tired divisive crap and you may start to see the two political parties for the hucksters they are. If the Contrarian Church grows large enough, we may be able to wrest some control back from the state before it’s too late. And if not, I can at least sell some T-shirts and perhaps market some Contrarian franchises.

Worst case, unplugging may make you think a bit more. And when unplugged, you’ll have more time to go outside and do real things and have real experiences. Because ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about? Making real life-memories, and not listening to some internet Contrarian rando tell you what to think?

With that – you filthy animals go out and have yourselves a great and safe New Years! See you on the other side as we wait for whatever new adventures 2022 holds.

In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

Mark Twain