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Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:30 PM

 

Ralph Nader: President Obama Can Do More on Oil Prices

The following article is not copyrighted material. Better Believe It

Obama Can Do More on Oil Prices
By Ralph Nader
March 6, 2012


Gasoline and heating oil prices are ratcheting up. In California, some motorists are paying over $5 per gallon. President Obama declared that "there is no quick fix" for this problem. Meanwhile, the hapless but howling Republicans are blaming him for the fuel surge as if he is a price control czar.

Indeed, President Obama has some proper power to cool off retail petroleum prices. David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's Budget Director, said it plainly on CNN last week, "Stop beating the war drums right now [against Iran], and Obama could do that, and he could say the neocons are history." Having done his stint on Wall Street, Stockman knows that war talk by the war hawks inside and outside of our government is just what the speculators on the New York Mercantile Exchange want to hear as they bid up the price. Your gasoline prices are not charging up due to strains between supply and demand. Speculation, with those notorious derivatives and swaps, is what is poking larger holes in your fuel budget, according to Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyers. The too-big-to-fail Wall Street gamblers - Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley - are at it again.

Dr. Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America documented that speculation added $600 to the average family's gasoline expenditures in 2011. Earlier, the head of Exxon/Mobil estimated that speculation was responsible for over $40 per barrel in price increase at a time when oil was more than $100 per barrel.

Last June, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman, Gary Gensler, declared in New York City that "huge inflows of speculative money create a self-fulfilling prophecy that drives up commodity prices."

Mr. Gensler and the CFTC received more legislated authority to police these Wall Street gamblers, but key members of Congress refused to give him a budget to, in his words, "be a more effective cop on the beat," at a time of sharply-increasing trading volume. Congressional campaign budgets are being swelled by campaign contributions from those very Wall Street gamblers. This is called "cash-register politics." Meanwhile, you the people pay and pay at the pump and wonder why no one is doing anything about it.

But an inadequate budget only explains part of Mr. Gensler's problems. He is continually undermined by other CFTC Commissioners who do not want real enforcement action. He also seems to be wearing down under the pressure.

Back in the 1970s, a sudden increase in gasoline prices - even a few cents - led to an uproar among consumers and demands for regulation, price controls and other government action. Now that the New York Mercantile Exchange, with its big banking and hedge fund speculators loading up on fat profits and bonuses is right here in the U.S., officials are throwing up their hands saying "there are no quick fixes."

Yet by the constant Israeli-Obama-Hillary Clinton-Congressional-AIPAC belligerent talk about Iran developing a capability to produce nuclear weapons is provoking Tehran's warnings about the Straits of Hormuz, and the oil price speculators are having a field day with your gas dollars.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) regularly demands that that Obama's regulators impose limits on oil speculations. He asserts that the "skyrocketing price of gas and oil has nothing to do with the fundamentals of supply and demand." Even Goldman Sachs analyst, David Greely, claimed Wall Street speculation in the futures market is driving up oil prices.

In response to such clamorings, President Obama announced in April 2011 a new inter-agency working group to combat fraud. Don't hold your breath waiting for any action here.

So why doesn't President Obama invite the various industries such as the trucking and airline companies that are hurt by spiraling oil prices, together with consumer groups, motorist organizations, such as AAA and Better World Society, and the relevant government agencies to generate the pressure on Congress and the recalcitrant members of the CFTC to stop fronting for the Wall Street casino giants?

Mr. Obama and Energy Secretary Chu keep saying that there is enough oil in world markets and that speculatively-driven higher oil prices are undermining the U.S. economic recovery. Yet Mr. Obama seems unwilling to fully use his administration's existing authority to crack down on the surging speculation.

There is much more action possible under current statutory authority for the regulators to use and earn their salaries. They need to hear louder rumblings from the people. While the people need, whenever possible and safe, to walk short distances instead of drive there, if only to stiffen their determination to fight back in more than one way.

http://nader.org/index.php?/archives/2355-Obama-Can-Do-More-on-Oil-Prices.html#extended


58 replies, 6529 views

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Arrow 58 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ralph Nader: President Obama Can Do More on Oil Prices (Original post)
Better Believe It Mar 2012 OP
mzmolly Mar 2012 #1
UTUSN Mar 2012 #2
bluestate10 Mar 2012 #3
bluestateguy Mar 2012 #4
JoePhilly Mar 2012 #5
Lil Missy Mar 2012 #6
Honeycombe8 Mar 2012 #7
AnOhioan Mar 2012 #8
libinnyandia Mar 2012 #10
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #19
Zalatix Mar 2012 #39
libinnyandia Mar 2012 #46
Zalatix Mar 2012 #28
WI_DEM Mar 2012 #42
maddezmom Mar 2012 #44
wendylaroux Mar 2012 #9
FSogol Mar 2012 #12
wendylaroux Mar 2012 #15
FSogol Mar 2012 #11
AnOhioan Mar 2012 #16
blue neen Mar 2012 #22
AnOhioan Mar 2012 #23
blue neen Mar 2012 #24
SidDithers Mar 2012 #17
Post removed Mar 2012 #30
DonCoquixote Mar 2012 #13
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #21
DonCoquixote Mar 2012 #27
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #31
Ikonoklast Mar 2012 #36
MineralMan Mar 2012 #43
DonCoquixote Mar 2012 #54
ProSense Mar 2012 #14
Ikonoklast Mar 2012 #18
Hawkowl Mar 2012 #32
Ikonoklast Mar 2012 #33
chrisa Mar 2012 #20
GeorgeGist Mar 2012 #25
gulliver Mar 2012 #26
RZM Mar 2012 #29
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #41
RZM Mar 2012 #53
DevonRex Mar 2012 #34
spanone Mar 2012 #35
ButterflyBlood Mar 2012 #37
AtomicKitten Mar 2012 #38
Bobbie Jo Mar 2012 #45
Waiting For Everyman Mar 2012 #40
Skidmore Mar 2012 #47
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #50
Skidmore Mar 2012 #51
LineLineLineNew Reply ?
Bobbie Jo Mar 2012 #52
TBF Mar 2012 #48
DonCoquixote Mar 2012 #55
TBF Mar 2012 #56
hifiguy Mar 2012 #49
B Calm Mar 2012 #57
deaniac21 Mar 2012 #58

Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:31 PM

1. Has Bush weighed

in?

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:33 PM

2. Dear Ralph ... n/t

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:35 PM

3. Nader. nt

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:36 PM

4. Is this a joke?

I would hate to think that the man who sucked away enough votes to allow George W. Bush into the White House, who caused the problems that the current president will need many many years to fix, would now presume to instruct the president as to what to do.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:39 PM

5. A new manufactured outrage widget hits the shop room floor ... thud.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:54 PM

6. Fuck Nader n/t

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:56 PM

7. Who is Raf Nadr? nt

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:03 PM

8. The haters are so predictable....thanks for posting, Nader is right

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Response to AnOhioan (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:13 PM

10. Nader may be correct on the issues but he was wrong on how to influence the Democats.

Year 2000-gop controls Congress- why would anyone want to chance giving the white house to the gop?

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Response to libinnyandia (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:37 PM

19. Perhaps you can offer Ralph Nader some sound advice and personal experience on how

 


you have influenced the Democratic Party.

How have you been doing on stopping oil speculators .... making much progress in Congress with Democratic politicians?

Hope you can show Nader how it's done!

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 04:05 AM

39. Nader is more famous and has a bigger microphone than any of us. Worship him!

 

Um, no.

I'm still free so far to explain that Nader is wrong about this. He wants to do something about oil prices and that's not the problem that America has. The problem that America has is we need to do away with our addiction to environment-killing, increasingly scarce fossil fuels. We will do away with it or it will do away with us.

This truth is irrefutable whether or not Ralph Nader is more famous than any of us.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:27 AM

46. Everything Nader accomplished in Washington was because of the Democrats and even a few

Republicans When he worked to defeat Gore in 2000 he mede it hard for Democrats to want to work with him.

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Response to AnOhioan (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:42 PM

28. No, he is not.

 

The point is not to lower the price of gasoline, even if it could be done.

The short-term point is to increase fuel economy so that we get more gasoline per gallon; and in the meantime, the long term point is to end our dependency on fossil fuels altogether.

There is no such thing as cheap gasoline. There has never been any such thing as cheap gasoline. There will never, ever be any such thing as cheap gasoline.

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Response to AnOhioan (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 09:46 AM

42. funny how people who aren't too happy with Nader are 'haters' but

when the term is used on posters who daily post nothing but attacks on President Obama, my how they get bent out of shape.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #42)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:02 AM

44. +1000

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:09 PM

9. what is "n/t?"

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Response to wendylaroux (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:16 PM

12. n/t = No Text.

Welcome to DU, BTW.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:20 PM

15. thank you!

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:15 PM

11. From the DU Terms of Service....

"Winning elections is important therefore, advocating in favor of Republican nominees or in favor of third-party spoiler candidates that could split the vote and throw an election to our conservative opponents is never permitted on Democratic Underground."

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Response to FSogol (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:21 PM

16. Nader is not a candidate...so the OP falls under DU rules

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Response to AnOhioan (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:43 PM

22. Also:

"Everyone here on DU needs to work together to elect more Democrats and fewer Republicans to all levels of American government. If you are bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout for our candidates during election season, we'll assume you are rooting for the other side."

So, if everyone wants to discuss rules, we can do that.

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Response to blue neen (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:52 PM

23. Did not see anyone "bashing, trashing, undermining, or depressing turnout"

All I saw was a post about a non-candidate public figure making a statement about how the President could better handle the situation.

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Response to AnOhioan (Reply #23)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:57 PM

24. That is your opinion.

It may or may not be the opinion of DU'ers who are interested right now in re-electing and electing Democrats.

It's also Ralph Nader's opinion about how to "better handle the situation." President Obama may or may not agree with him. He also may not care what Ralph Nader says. Who knows?

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Response to FSogol (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:26 PM

17. +1...nt

Sid

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Response to FSogol (Reply #11)


Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:17 PM

13. Nader is wrong

Because if war drums stiopped tomorrow, the oil specs could invent ten new reasons, blaming the arab spring for all of it.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:39 PM

21. Do the oil speculators should just be allowed to rip off the public.

 


I don't think unconditional surrender to Wall Street speculators is a sound or winning strategy.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #21)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:33 PM

27. False equivalency

Congress has the power to regulate, not Obama, and currently, congress is not doing anything to help...you want pressure, go after the ones that make the laws.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #27)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:48 PM

31. So you don't think Obama should speak out against the Wall Street oil speculator because ....

 


he's only the President and his hands are tied by Republicans.

And I thought Obama might use this as a campaign issue to hammer Republicans in Congress with!

What a foolish idea!

Using his office to go after Wall Street would only anger Republicans in the election and they will attack Obama for waging "class war" against the oil tycoons and billionnaires.

We sure can't have that.

Thanks for your input. You're right of course.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #31)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:41 AM

36. Straw Man. Any argument started with the word "So..." is a fallacious argument.

Besides being patently untrue on its face, Mr. Obama has spoken out at length about price volatility due to speculation, you and others here just choose to ignore it.

Mr Obama spoke about oil price volatility due to speculative pressures having to do more with pricing than supply and demand 11 months ago.

He has also recently once again called for Congress to end the tax subsidies to big oil, guess you must have missed that one, too.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #31)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 09:59 AM

43. President Obama HAS spoken out against petroleum speculation.

If you took the time to listen to him, instead of constantly searching for negative things to post about him, you'd already know that.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #31)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 05:37 PM

54. he HAS spoken out

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203961204577267621281401442.html

However, Ralph Nader spoke as if he had CONTROL..he can speak 24/7 but if CONGRESS does nto act, he is a figurehead.

Read your constitution before you speak about what a president can and cannot do..

OH, BTW, for people who say "bush could have done it" that is because Bush was aided by congress, especially the DINO's.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:17 PM

14. Shouldn't

Indeed, President Obama has some proper power to cool off retail petroleum prices. David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's Budget Director, said it plainly on CNN last week, "Stop beating the war drums right now , and Obama could do that, and he could say the neocons are history."

...Reagan's budget director use his influence to call on Republicans to "stop beating the war drums"?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002398765

I mean, President Obama called them out: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002391544

And what the hell is this:

Yet by the constant Israeli-Obama-Hillary Clinton-Congressional-AIPAC belligerent talk about Iran developing a capability to produce nuclear weapons is provoking Tehran's warnings about the Straits of Hormuz, and the oil price speculators are having a field day with your gas dollars.





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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:35 PM

18. THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT CONTROL THE PRICE OF OIL WORLDWIDE.

Even if Mr. Obama could magically wave his hand and make Iran disappear from the face of the Earth, he could not control oil speculators THAT AREN'T EVEN U.S. CITIZENS, NOR EVEN DOING BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY.

Tell the commodity brokers in Hong Kong, or Geneva, or The City that they need to stop speculating in petroleum futures and they'll tell you to go piss up a rope.

And Iran knows what it is doing, they have done so before in order to ramp up the price of oil.

Every time they they threaten to block the Straits of Hormuz the price of oil jumps; they know this and profit from it.


Oh, and F.U.R.N.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #18)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:48 PM

32. Oil is priced in dollars.

 

You don't think the US doesn't control the value of its currency? You don't think that the main commodity exchanges are in the US? You don't understand that the Federal Reserve will give no interest loans to banks which then leverage it further to ratchet up the price in oil contracts continually rolling over said contracts without taking delivery of product?

Do you even have a clue how modern markets are a cruel perpetual money machine that grinds billions into poverty?

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Response to Hawkowl (Reply #32)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:40 AM

33. It could be priced in Jelly Beans, the United States still cannot control speculation outside its

borders.

Oil is priced in dollars only for the sake of delivery, one can speculate in petroleum futures in any currency, in any country, anywhere on the face of the Earth.


If speculators continually roll over contracts, they will eventually GO BROKE. Commodities of any type have a bad habit of going down in price at the most inoppurtune times.


And if you think that petroleum traders world-wide all use commodity exchanges in this country to the exclusion of all others, you might be dead wrong. We are far from being the only game in town, as a matter of fact, many traders refuse to use U.S markets.

Tell that to Indian commodity brokers trading on the MCX.

Before much longer the largest commodity exchanges will all be outside the U.S.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:38 PM

20. I hate you, Nader.

That is all. -__-

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:01 PM

25. Seems like only yesterday ...

Obama was cautioning the Republicans to tone down the drums of war.

Nader needs a copy of Consumer Reports to review their recommendations on hearing aids.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:26 PM

26. Again Nader trying to associate himself with something worthwhile.

Any cause Nader aligns himself with picks up some of his stench. He goes around saying things that are popular to progressives, and some of the intellectually vulnerable ones lap it up. Nader talking about a progressive cause is like Bill Frist publishing a book of cute kitten pictures.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:43 PM

29. I have an honest question for you, BBI

 

Once the Mittster has it locked up, are you going to continue to attack Obama from the left? Because according to DU rules, you will be expected to get behind his candidacy once it's clear who the Republican nominee is. Constant criticism of of the president and advocacy of Nader's positions will probably get you banned once the general election campaign is on.

I see three options here:

1) Keep doing this and take your chances
2) Change your tune
3) Stop posting

Have you thought about this? And if so, which option will you choose?

Honestly, I'm not trying to put you on the spot or insult you. I respect your desire to do your thing. But I do think you're going to be in a bind and I'm genuinely curious what your plan is.

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Response to RZM (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 09:41 AM

41. What is your "plan"? Is it to prohibit any articles/posts in defense of our Bill of Rights ....

 


after the Republicans have chosen their presidential candidate? Defense of our Constitution and democratic rights is never put on hold and should not be prohibited on Democratic Underground during election campaigns.

In your opinion, will it be OK to attack any progressive individual and organization that expresses any view that is contrary to that of President Obama or that disagrees with government policy on civil liberties and or other issue and to prohibit the posting of such views on Democratic Underground? Is that what you want? If that is your desire I do not agree with your objective.

That is not the policy of Democratic Underground unless you have now become the owner of this website or have taken it upon yourself to speak on their behalf.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #41)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:10 PM

53. Where's this defensiveness coming from?

 

I think you may have gotten me wrong. I'm honestly not trying to attack your and I'm certainly not trying to censor you. I'm asking a real question. What are you going to do? I don't make the rules here. If it were my site, I would be much less restrictive about who can post here, but obviously it's not my site, so I have no say.

Maybe I'm wrong, but once campaign season begins, I don't think the admins want too many anti-Obama or pro-Nader posts.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:19 AM

34. Hahaha. Hahahahaaaaaaa!!!!

Fuck Nader.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:27 AM

35. quoting david stockman......Obama is not beating any war drums i've heard

in fact, quite the opposite

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:29 AM

37. Barack Obama: Ralph Nader can fuck off

OK he won't say that, but he should.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:46 AM

38. The GOP is giving O shit about gas prices. Coincidence?

 

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Response to AtomicKitten (Reply #38)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:07 AM

45. What a coincidence.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 04:29 AM

40. Speculation on oil needs to end.

I don't like Nader, but he is right. I'm glad for anybody who speaks out on this, as others are doing too. This is unconscionable and ridiculous. It is legalized theft.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:38 AM

47. Ralph, the only persons beating the drums of war are McCain, the GOP candidates,

and the Greek chorus of GOP congressmen behind them. Quit clutching your pears where the President is concerned and start taking on your backer and then I'll have respect for you again,

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #47)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:49 PM

50. Your kidding .... right?

 


Only Republicans are beating the drums for war against Iran!!!!

And I thought the right-wing Israeli regime and Obama administration was engaged in a propaganda offensive that will lead to a war on Iran.

How wrong I was.

Thanks for the correction.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #50)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:58 PM

51. I do believe that the President called for diplomacy while the Rs

were yelling that he is weak and apologetic and on the wrong track.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #50)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:00 PM

52. ?

What does that even mean?

Maybe *you're* kidding?

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:48 AM

48. We wouldn't have this problem if we nationalized

the energy and banking sectors. Why aren't we talking about that?

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Response to TBF (Reply #48)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 05:45 PM

55. Because

While the masses are more open to leftish ideas than in times past, that would get the masses stampeding for fear of Soviet style socialism...

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #55)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 05:54 PM

56. Depends upon who you define as "masses"

granted the top 20% or so might flip out but most working folks know the game's rigged against them (I know, I was a factory kid growing up - and that was many years ago). There was a lot of populist talk about the banks and their bailouts - folks were against it. I think we might have been able to swing the nationalization of Bank of America, for example.

I understand your point, and agree that there has been a lot of red-baiting, but I think folks are realizing that trickle down was a lie.

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:53 AM

49. Sod off, pinhead. nt

 

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 06:23 PM

57. Refined fuels is our single largest export. Gas, Diesel

 

and Jet fuel. . . . There's no shortage. . .

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Response to Better Believe It (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:01 PM

58. We need

the Corvair to get better gas milage.

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