One of my favorite Public Enemy moments occurs at the beginning of the song called Can't Truss It, when, by way of introduction, Chuck D announces helpfully "Here come the drums" at the exact moment that court jester Flava Flav blurts out a single word -- Confusion! Flav's exclamation is a judgment and warning about all sorts of heavy things, from the modern history of slavery to heroin overdose, but also about the music itself, the obtuse wall of sound conjured by Terminator X and the stream of brilliant and highly objectionable rhyme about to be delivered by Chuck D as only he can to your shellshocked white boy ears. Good stuff, Maynard. Confusion!

These days, that single word pronouncement of Mr. Flava Flav is about as comprehensive an analysis as one can hope to find on many a well-studied subject. From energy to the environment, the economy to Afghanistan, Confusion! rules the day.

Look at the energy markets for instance. Back in January there was a sort of consensus brewing that 2009 was shaping up to be a pretty non-exciting year in the oil markets (see PREDICT-O-RAMA) during which we would see the price rising modestly off its lows but ultimately held down by a beaten economy; the consensus price forecast for the year hovered at a fifty-dollar average. With oil now back around sixty-five bucks a barrel, a gain of roughly one hundred percent off its recent lows, there are compelling arguments that it will continue to rise from here and compelling arguments that it will collapse again. There is now a huge range of opinions among traders on what the price should be and will be. This translates into tremendous price volatility and Confusion!

Will demand in India and China resume growing and drive global consumption and energy prices higher? Some see it as inevitable, and they make an argument bolstered by the seeming incontrovertibility of population growth. Considering the ongoing depletion of most of the world's largest oilfields and the lack of new discoveries there is a strong argument that supply won't be able to pace demand unless demand continues to fall. But will the Great Recession, combined with the ever-growing impact of efficiency measures, usher in an era of declining demand for oil from which there will be no return? A good argument for that too, bolstered perhaps by history: After the oil spike of '79-'82 demand was crushed and didn't return to those levels for ten years. These days, in what could be the early stages of the electrification of car travel, with Chrysler and GM gone full zombie, against a general backdrop of depressed consumption due to a lame economy, it is easier to imagine that we have already seen Peak Demand for oil. Confusion!

There is a wicked Catch-22 hovering over the whole picnic. Is it even possible for oil prices to spike unless the economy rebounds in a big way? Is it even possible for the economy to rebound in a big way if oil prices are high? Confusion!

Beware of anybody who claims to know what comes next. They are probably trying to sell you something. When you hear somebody trying to tell you what's coming next, just think of Flava with his crazy oversized clock, and exclaim the single word Confusion! into their face, perhaps with some spittle. You may find it necessary to add "Bass in yo face!"

And a smile went along with that.