John McCain and the price of gas – follow the money

Credit to Noel Sheppard of “”.  I’m sure he did not intend for anyone to use his story to defend Keith Olbermann and his view of the facts but, there you have it.

While Noel Sheppard is not a supporter of Keith Olbermann or Barack Obama, we can thank him for laying out the details of the Enron Loophole in U.S. Legislation and the connection to John McCain.  If you want to figure out something you don’t understand, just follow the money.

Almost two years ago, NewsBusters wondered when media would begin reporting Enron’s ties to higher oil and gas prices.

Recently, we got our answer: when it could be blamed on the Republican presidential nominee.

Such was certainly the case Wednesday evening when Obama advocate Keith Olbermann did a segment on “Countdown” pointing fingers at John McCain for having not done more to repeal the so-called “Enron Loophole” created by the enactment of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

Though predictable, Olbermann conveniently ignored how the first version of this bill passed in the House with almost unanimous bipartisan support, cleared final approval in the Senate by a voice vote without any objection, and was signed into law by Bill Clinton who had also been a strong advocate (video embedded upper-right, use scrollbars to center):

OLBERMANN: John McCain is renowned for saying he does not know much about the economy and for parading around those advisers of his who he says do know something about the economy. our third story tonight, A COUNTDOWN special report on the price of gas, and how McCain`s chief economic adviser, among others, helped create and defend pivotal legislation that unleashed speculators to run up gas prices. It is, in essence, a legalized form of insider trading, deregulation that lets speculators overwhelm trading in oil futures, those complicated contracts that let commercial users of oil hedger their bets about future price and supply fluctuations by agreeing to prices and delivery dates ahead of time.
Since this legislation passed, gasoline prices have more than doubled and commodity traders have made tens of millions of dollars, devastating thousands of small companies that deal in oil, and creating the risk of a speculative bubble popping.
How does McCain fit in? The road connecting him to four dollar gas begins with Enron
OLBERMANN (voice-over video tape): Soon after Enron`s birth as a power supplier in the 1980s, CEO Ken Lay decided head could make more money betting on electricity futures, especially if government regulators didn`t stop him from cornering the market and gaming the system. Under the first President Bush, an obscure agency called the Commodities Future Trading Commission obliged Ken Lay. The CFTC chairwoman, Wendy Gramm, left Enron alone.
When Bill Clinton beat Bush, it took only one week before Enron asked Gramm to lock in her hands-off position as official CFTC policy. Gramm started the process. The CFTC approved it after she left on Clinton`s inauguration day. Five weeks later, she took a part-time post on Enron`s board of directors and wound up earning more than 900,000 dollars over the next decade. Clinton never undid Gramm`s changes.
Fast forward to the year 2000 and Bush v. Gore. In the chaos of constitutional crisis, Enron got a law passed containing what is now known as the Enron loophole. Where Gramm deregulated individual trades, the Enron loophole deregulated entire markets, online markets. […]
Since 2006, John McCain`s top economic adviser has been former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, husband of the former CFTC head who then joined Enron. McCain chaired Gramm`s 1996 presidential race, with Ken Lay as regional chairman. It was Gramm who passed the Enron loophole, partially written by Enron itself, with no hearings, with no debate.
It was Gramm who stopped Democrats from closing the Enron loophole, and it was Gramm who became vice chairman at the Swiss financial firm UBS in 2002, less than a year after UBS bought the shattered remains of Enron`s energy trading arm.
So I know that was a lot of information to absorb. But just read it once or twice, and take it all in.  This shouldn’t be your only factor in deciding who the next President should be but it should be at least one.

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