I think ES is like a fully compressed spring ready to unwind. One clue is a rather low equity put-to-call ratio and, in addition, VIX index is in teens. These are usually predecessors of significant moves down. I like ES, TF, Nasdaq, etc. because there are no limit moves (for the most part... save from some big fat Black Swans) and they tend to trend very nicely.
These days I only trade by going with the flow (moving averages), though I have chickened out recently from a few markets where the reversals from losing positions can cost a lot (NG and spreads in CT ). I have tried to trade crude many times this year and found that this market (and its complex) is not suitable for my method. CL will probably have some big move up or down eventually but by then whipsaw would likely wipe me out.
I understand your aversion to Nasdaq after losing big. I lost around 9K in a single gold trade two years ago; however, I did come back and traded gold this year with a decent result. If one can lose big, one can also win big
One final note: if deflation pans out, T-Bonds, T-Notes and DX will come back roaring. In the US, most economists and pundits are calling for inflation. Since the majority view is often wrong, deflation is likely. So here I agree with you 100% but, as you said, timing is everything in this God forsaken business of futures trading.