05/01/2006 08:09 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Huffington Post Writes and Washington Acts

On April 4 The Huffington Post posted "Oil Prices Being Pushed Ever Higher By Manipulating Oil Futures Trading". This was preceded by another posting dated January 15, 06 "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gas Pump". Both postings focused on the manipulation of the oil and gas futures markets as a means of artificially raising the prices of crude oil and natural gas. At the time of the earlier posting it was an issue, to the best of my knowledge, not touched upon in the general media nor in political discourse.

Subsequently, on April 25 bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Feinstein (D-Calif), Snow (R-Me), Levin (D-Mi) and Cantwell (D-Wa) to enable the federal government to determine if fraud or manipulation is occurring in the oil, gas and electricity futures trading markets. Senator Snow: "The legislation we introduce today shines a bright light on futures transactions...". Senator Levin: "This legislation will help Congress do its part ensuring that the federal government prevent energy maket manipulation by oil traders."

Senator Cantwell: "We can't begin to understand the real reasons for skyrocketing gas prices until we get transparency in the market..." ( also see "As Oil Prices rise the Media Slumbered away (Psst- Don't wake up the New York Times Or Wall Street Journal)" 4/25/04).

Ironically on April 29 the New York Time's front page article 'Trading Frenzy Adds to Jump In Price of Oil" continues its sleepwalking reportage on the issues of energy, oil and prices. To quote the article "The oil market has been driven by speculators, by hedge funds, by pension funds and by commodity indexes, but the fact of the matter it's mostly driven by fundamentals." Then a listing of the ususal oil industry litany of production shortfalls; civil unrest, problems in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Gulf Coast. Yet there never was or is a hard look or hard questioning of this usual and oft repeated oil patch pitch. No mention that the market for crude oil is well supplied, that commercial inventories of crude oil are ten percent higher than last year when prices were some $20/bbl lower. No mention of the nefarious influence of OPEC. The Times in its article does continue on to instruct us "the frantic trading ensures that even the biggest players - including the major oil companies - cannot significantly distort the market or tilt it artificially in their favor". In their unfailing stupor, not a single mention is made of the legislative initiatives against manipulation, taken in the Senate the very week of their article.

Moral- if you have been picking up the New York Times to catch up on oil gas and energy, save the dollar and log onto the Huffington Post.