Wednesday, June 18, 2008

McCain and Bush, Perfect Together

Just one day after John McCain called for the ban on offshore driling to end (completely reversing his previous support for the ban back in his 2000 campaign), Bush chimed in, pushing for offshore drilling and, for good measure, reiterating his support for drilling in ANWR.

Ironically, his own father, George H.W. Bush, banned the practice back in 1990 when he was President, perpetuating a Congressional law that had first been put into effect in 1981. W's brother Jeb, former governor of Florida, has also opposed offshore drilling.

As usual, Bush complained that the Democratic Congress is standing in the way of his solutions to the nation's problems.

"So my administration has repeatedly called on Congress to expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal -- and now Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction."

Bush would like us to believe that the only reason the oil prices are high is because Congress hasn't allowed oil drilling in offshore areas or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Obama and other Democrats quickly rejected the call for domestic drilling in environmentally sensitive areas.

"'This is not something that’s going to give consumers short-term relief and it is not a long-term solution to our problems with fossil fuels generally and oil in particular,' said Obama. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, lumping Bush with McCain, accused them of staging a 'cynical campaign ploy' that won’t help lower energy prices.

'Despite what President Bush, John McCain and their friends in the oil industry claim, we cannot drill our way out of this problem,' Reid said. “The math is simple: America has just three percent of the world’s oil reserves, but Americans use a quarter of its oil.'"

Let's face it, the fact that the oil prices are suddenly skyrocketing out of control is not due to an oil shortage. There is plenty of oil. And while there will be a shortage in the future due to developing industrial nations like China and India using more and more of it, that doesn't explain the sudden change over the past year.

No, it's speculators that are the problem. And something called the "Enron Loophole" which was explained tonight on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown."

It's a long and complicated story, but basically the story is that Phil Gramm, now McCain's chief financial adviser and a close friend, back in 2000 was responsible for including an Enron-backed provision in the Commodities Futures Modernization Act that exempted energy trading via electronic platforms from any regulation. (The act was approved without even a Senate hearing).

This led into the whole Enron scandal, where Enron worked to create false energy shortages in California, defrauding consumers to the tune of $40 billion. And guess what else? Gramm's wife, Wendy Gramm, was serving on Enron's board of directors at the time!

It is very likely that this loophole, which encourages speculation in the energy markets, may have something to do with the high oil prices. According to Jason Leopold in the Baltimore Chronicle:

"Last week, a study sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, concluded that speculative futures markets were partly to blame for the surge in oil prices that have pushed gas at the pump toward $4 a gallon.

At a May 15 news conference, Levin said the skyrocketing price of oil is 'not the result of supply and demand. Speculators have taken over most of the futures market.'"

No wonder McCain is changing his tune about the offshore drilling. He doesn't want anyone to look too closely at the whole situation and see how connected his chief financial adviser and good friend was with the whole Enron scandal.

Luckily, Congress recently overrode Bush's veto to pass a Farm Bill that included a provision to authorize the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to oversee energy trades on electronic platforms and to impose limits on traders' positions.

So we may yet see the oil prices decline again. But let's hope they don't go down too much - the American public has a very short memory, and the moment gas prices fall by a significant amount, people will immediately flock back to their SUVs or the next big powerful vehicle to come along, and forget all about saving gas and developing alternative energy sources.


enigma4ever said...

and he wants MORE coal...and MORE Nuke plants..but he is really an EV candidate...oye....and NOW this...omg...what next...

great post...thank you...

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, Maui. The discussion has been so muddied by money, it's not even a discussion anymore. It's a mumbling.

I had a conversation with someone I work with. She's convinced that Americans won't really change their habits until they run out of money and credit. We decided that such a day is coming sooner than we think.

Fran said...

You have done a service here- fantastic post.

This is never presented clearly and you have actually done so.

Argh... we are scaaaaa-roooooooood.

Cosa Nostradamus said...

Obama really needs to hammer on this. McBush is not some nice old guy, some daring maverick, some hero for the average guy. He's a much a part of the problems of average guys as Bush and Exxon and Enron et al. Obama and his surrogates need to hammer on McBush every day about his ties to big energy & big money, and how it is hurting all of us average guys.

I'd love to see honest snap-polls on some of McBush's asinine statements, positions & attacks on Obama. I'd really like to know what the average guy thinks of McBush's endless litany of tired old conservative claptrap.

Conservatives still think the way out of overcrowding in the Northeast is to kill the Indians and take their lands out West. The solution to a shortage of unskilled labor? Go to Africa and bring back lots of black people in chains. Strains on the Veterans' health-care system? Give them drugs that will make them suicidal.

Anonymous said...

I will be so happy when the moronic monkey is swinging from the trees of Paraguay and this Oedipal shit finally comes to an end.

libhom said...

These are the three main factors that speculation in petroleum is based on.

Bush's war in Iraq.

Bush's saber rattling with Iran.

Bush's saber rattling and attempted coup against Venezuela.

If Bush changed his foreign policy, we would see a short term decline in oil prices.

Dorothy said...

Thank you for the great information. I'm trying to understand the whole scenario and it's not even close to coming together yet..However..your column does help.

My best,
Dorothy from grammology
remember to call your gram

Anonymous said...

Hey, listen here. ignorant enigma. Nuclear power plants are EV friendly, have you not taken science in high school? Or were you so stupid you just had to drop out? Nuclear energy is much more common than all other energy sources but is still second to energy produced by dams. They are safe, it is a common misconception and very ignorant to think otherwise. Nuclear Power plants were designed with a large shell with 6 feet thick re-inforced concrete surounding the nuclear reactor, which in favour was designed to withstand a jumbojet packed with explosives, and has a missle defense shield surrounding it. Dont be ignorant, know your stuff.Also, if we would drill in alaska and use the oil for temporary basis, we would HAVE enough money for taxes to RESEARCH new energy sources. It costs a LOAD of money to invest in new technologies provided by the Gov't. Again, know your stuff. Alright? good.