Tag Archives: The McClatchy Company

Blame Oil Speculators, Not Obama, For Rising Oil Prices

Explaining why gas prices spiked in the last week or so is not easy.

Most people simply tune out from the technical and Wall Street explanations for the sudden rise in gasoline pricing.  They’d rather believe the GOP lie that President Obama is responsible for price spike.

The following piece from Think Progress puts it all into perspective…

Think Progress

As the improving economy has robbed conservatives of their chief talking point against President Obama, they’ve turned to rising gas prices as the next problem to pin on the president.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger,” while Rick Santorum conspiratorially claimed Obama is intentionally pushing up prices to cut carbon emissions. Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich released a 30-minute video today about how “the Obama administration is so anti‑oil” that they’ve forced the price of gas to go up.

But there’s little truth to claims that Obama has curbed U.S. oil production and driven up gas prices in the process. As NPR noted this morning, the number of drilling rigs in U.S. oil fields has quadrupled under Obama and domestic oil production hit an 8-year high in 2011. For the first time in 60 years, the U.S. is now a net fuel exporter.

Oil demand was actually down 4.6 percent last week over last year, while the supply of gasoline has actually increased slightly since a year ago. So why are gas prices so high? As McClatchy’s Kevin Hall explains today, there is a systemic problem: speculation.

Energy futures markets serve a legitimate role in helping producers (like oil companies) and big end users (like airlines) hedge against price volatility, but lately, they’ve been taken over by Wall Street speculators who never intend to actually use the fuel they’re betting on.

As Hall reports:

Historically, financial speculators accounted for about 30 percent of oil trading in commodity markets, while producers and end users made up about 70 percent. Today it’s almost the reverse.

A McClatchy review of the latest Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates oil trading, shows that producers and merchants made up just 36 percent of all contracts traded in the week ending Feb. 14 while speculators who will never take delivery of the oil made up 64 percent.

Many experts, lawmakers (Democratic and Republican), and government regulators have expressed similar warnings.

Finally, after many delays, the government board responsible for regulating commodity futures markets finalized a rule in October to limit speculation, a power it was given by the Dodd-Frank Wall street reform law. However, the rule won’t go into effect until next October, as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) needs to collect “one year of interest data” first. The financial industry is fighting the new rule, but just today, the CFTC took action against a company in different market, providing an example of how the energy regulation can effectively work.

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Filed under Gasoline Prices, Oil Speculation

WikiLeaks cable: U.S. troops handcuffed, shot Iraqi children in raid

I must admit that when I read this story at around 8:00 am on the McClatchey site, I was hesitant about reporting it for various reasons which I won’t detail here.

I will not post the horrifying picture that accompanies the story on either McClatchey or The Raw Story.  One would have to click on the link to either site to witness the horrific graphic detail.

In every war this country has ever fought, there are a few soldiers, who for whatever reason, have sunken into the darkest depths of the so-called fog of war.

The Raw Story

According to a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, U.S. troops massacred an Iraqi family in the town of Ishaqi in 2006, handcuffing and then shooting 11 people in the head including a woman in her 70′s and five children ages five and under.

McClatchy is reporting that the soldiers then called in an air strike on the house to cover up evidence of the killings.

This account differs sharply from an official version of the 2006 incident, which indicated that coalition forces captured an al Qaeda in Iraq operative in the house, which was destroyed in a firefight. The WikiLeaks cable, however, corroborates accounts by Ishaqi townspeople and includes questions about the incident by Philip Alston, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The cable is dated twelve days after the incident, which took place March 15, 2006. In it, Alston says that autopsies performed in Tikrit on bodies pulled from the wreckage of the farmhouse indicated that all of the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head.

The victims included “at least 10 persons, namely Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay’ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra’a (aged 5) Aisha (aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz’s mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz’s sister (name unknown), Faiz’s nieces Asma’a Yousif Ma’arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma’arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid.”

Here is the cable…

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Filed under The Fog of War, Wikileaks

Friday Blog Round Up

 

The Herman Cain Boomlet

SS Newt Springs Leak

Bachmann likely to announce in Iowa

Palin to embark on East Coast bus tour (AP)

Dr. Cornel West Responds

Political Memo: A State of Uncertainty for the Romney Camp as It Looks to Iowa

Wisconsin Judge Strikes Down Scott Walker’s Anti-Union Bill

Wisconsin GOP could simply re-pass law, but recall elections causing delay

Clyburn protests McClatchy article on Obama and race

Army’s Crooning, Blogging, Gaming Brain Is The Military’s New Top Officer

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Filed under U.S. Politics