Monday, August 04, 2008

It’s "The Enron," Stupid

There is lots of news today about 24 Republican Congressmen staying in D.C. this week in protest over the August adjournment of congress. It’s a revolt, they say.

Congress, they say, should not adjourn until they pass comprehensive energy legislation that, among other things, will open up America’s Outer Continental Shelf to drilling. In the face of $4 a gallon gasoline prices at the pump that is driving up the cost of everything from abaca to zucchini, they are lecturing their fellow congressmen that it is irresponsible to take a 5 week summer vacation just now.

Lies and pocket lint. Flat out lies are being told to the American public about the price of oil and how we can find relief at the pump if only congress would get out of the way and let our noble oil and gas exploration companies do their job.

But I don’t know. It sure has worked before. Josef Goebbels called it “the big lie,” and real whoppers like that sure won over both houses of congress enough to give Bush and Cheney the power to wage war on an innocent nation after the Twin Towers fell.

So while Republican congressmen shriek in the empty halls of congress, let’s review one more time the origin of the economic and energy calamity that besets us today. No, it’s not supply and demand. The last time that was an issue we had gas lines and odd and even days to fill our tanks (or a ten gallon limit, in some cases).

It’s oil speculation, deregulated online oil trading that overwhelms the commodities market that has artificially racked up oil futures. This was all made possible by passage of “The Enron Loophole,” an amendment added to an appropriations bill. The loophole deregulated the commodities markets and allowed speculators to make deals without any oversight at all.

The result is what you see today.

So in short, it’s not the economy, it’s not the supply. It’s “The Enron” (loophole). A good summary is at MSNBC’s June 18th broadcast of Keith Olbermann’s special report. Embedded below.

So at the bottom of everything is a guy named Phil Gramm. A Texan and former Congressman and US Senator who has, with his wife’s help, not only put us where we are today, but also, with his dealings with Swiss bank UBS, has just about single-handedly created today’s mortgage crisis.

Don’t get me wrong. Gramm has had lots and lots of help. John McCain once opposed him, but liked him enough to put him on his campaign committee, before he was asked to leave it last month.

The trouble is, Gramm now makes his living as a lobbyist, and a lucrative living it has become. So there is no way for we, the people, to get to him unless we can prove he is guilty of racketeering. And just think how difficult that would be, what with all of the aiders and abettors out there.

But I can think of one way to cast a vote of disapproval. Guess who used to be on Phil Gramm’s senate staff? Yep, none other than Pete Olson who has launched his campaign to unseat Nick Lampson in Texas’ CD 22. Pete Olson was on Senator Gramm’s staff in 2000 when congress passed “The Enron Loophole.”

Yes, he was.

It’s a small world.

If voters want to vent over the $75 they pour into their gas tanks at every fill up, perhaps one way to do it is to vote “No” on Pete Olson, “Enron” Phil’s former employee. And vote “Yes” on Nick Lampson. Yeah, he isn’t perfect, but he’s all we have right now.

Or do what I’m going to do and vote a straight Democratic ticket.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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