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imagesIn 1986, the Koch traders. were the first to use oil derivatives on Wall Street.  They then formed a coalition lobby group to deregulate oil speculation.

The Pink Flamingo thinks that speculating on commodities that are basic to our national interest should either be illegal, or should be highly taxed. There is nothing wrong with commodities speculating.  It is part of the ebb and flow of the nation’s economy. It is also little more than legalized gambling.  A normal person, speculating on commodities doesn’t have much of a chance of really doing well.

But – if you are able to manipulate and buy in massive quantities, not only can you make your own roles, and call the shots, but you control the way prices go up and down.  This is what people like the Koch Brothers do.

Alter net

Alter net

But, there is a difference between speculating to make money, and speculating to do something really insane like global dominance, which is what is basically happening here.

“...Like many oil companies, Koch uses legitimate hedging products to create price stability. However, the documents reveal that Koch is also participating in the unregulated derivatives markets as a financial player, buying and selling speculative products that are increasingly contributing to the skyrocketing price of oil. Excessive energy speculation today is at its highest levels ever, and even Goldman Sachs now admits that at least $27 of the price of crude oil is a result from reckless speculation rather than market fundamentals of supply and demand. Many experts interviewed by ThinkProgress argue that the figure is far higher, and out of control speculation has doubled the current price of crude oil….”

Forbes

Forbes

Koch Industries is one of the top five crude oil traders in the world.  In other words, if you want to know what really happened to our economy, why we are paying such high gas prices, and have such an obscene deficit, with no end in sight, well, there are two very good reasons:  Charles & David Koch.

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“...Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries who is worth a reported $22 billion, likes to call his business an example of something he describes as the “Science of Liberty.” In reality, his company’s deregulation crusade has contributed to rolling blackouts, consolidation and monopolies in financial markets, and economy-wrecking oil price spikes. In comments to the CFTC, the reform-minded nonprofit Better Markets noted that, “the history of these markets is a history of anti-competitive, self-interested, predatory conduct that serves the interest of the exclusive few at the expense of the many and the system as a whole.”

After working furiously to unleash oil speculators like Koch and Enron, the Gramm family was rewarded with plum jobs, including spots on corporate boards and placements at speculator-funded think tanks. Wendy Gramm still holds a position at the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University, although she hasn’t authored a paper in years. While the Gramm family has faded somewhat from the public eye, their actions have radically changed the global economy. Since the Koch-Gramm-Enron deregulation bonanza, non-commercial oil speculators have flooded the market and increased the price volatility of oil in leaps and bounds, hurting consumers and businesses across the globe while making a small set of oil barons and financial giants very rich.

A McClatchy investigation found: “Prior to the 1990s, speculators made up about 30 percent of the futures market. In the latest reporting period, the ratio on May 3 stood at 68 percent speculators to 32 percent users of oil.” The following chart illustrates the dramatic changes in the oil speculation market following the Koch-prescribed deregulation campaign, and how non-commercial speculators have pushed the price of oil higher and higher…”

Then – there is this:

Exiled On Line

Exiled On Line

This is how it works:

“...How it works is that oil futures speculators bet on the future price, and because of the peculiar way in which the market for oil is structured, this ends up having a near-term effect. We know that today, 65% of the futures market is controlled by speculators who never take physical possession of the product. Gene Guilford, head of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Marketers Association (ICPA), went quite far in his remarks, saying that “If you have no intention of taking or making delivery of the commodity you are trading, you shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the market.”

Forbes

Forbes

The Hill

The Hill

“… October 6, 1986: First oil derivative is introduced to Wall Street by traders at Koch. Koch Industries executive Lawrence Kitchen devised the “first ever oil-indexed price swap between Koch Industries and Chase Manhattan Bank.” At the time, such derivatives had been limited to currency markets, and the shift of creating a synthetic financial instrument based on the value of crude oil was revolutionary. For an agreed-upon period, an oil swap is a contract where one party makes payments based on a fixed oil price, and the other party makes payments back based on the changing spot price of oil. In July of 2009, EnergyRisk magazine, a publication for commodity traders, posted a piece exploring the very first oil derivatives and Koch’s role in developing them.

– 1990-1992: Koch, along with several oil companies and Wall Street speculators, form a coalition lobbying group to deregulate oil speculation. A coalition called “The Energy Group” is organized to press the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to allow oil derivatives to be traded off the NYMEX or any other regulated exchange. Participants in the coalition include Koch, Enron, Phibro (a powerful commodity speculator firm recently sold from Citigroup to Occidental Petroleum), J. Aron & Co (a commodity trading division of Goldman Sachs), BP, and other companies….”

The Pink Flamingo thinks that we can basically admit that the country is worse off, today, because of the power and money of the Brother’s Koch.

“...Here’s a hint to how deeply the Kochs are involved in the same shady financial machinations we usually associate with Wall Street scammers: an investigation just released by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that the Kochs were major players in the fight against financial regulation in 2009 and 2010, bankrolling an army of lobbyists who swarmed Congress and shredded the fin-reg bill.

That’s right, we can thank the Kochs for the $400-600 trillion of so-called “over-the-counter derivatives,” essentially unregulated bets on everything from mortgages to oil prices to weather conditions, still being traded in the dark today, despite the fact that they were what sucked money out of the real economy, caused the meltdown of the world’s financial markets, precipitated the bank bailouts and are currently pumping up world food and energy prices…”

Think Progress

Think Progress

“…Fred was an early adviser to the founder of the anti- communist John Birch Society, which fought against the civil rights movement and the United Nations. Charles and David have supported the Tea Party, a loosely organized group that aims to shrink the size of government and cut federal spending.

These are long-standing tenets for the Kochs. In 1980, David Koch ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket, pledging to abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve System, welfare, minimum wage laws and federal agencies — including the Department of Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency.

What many people don’t know is how the Kochs’ anti- regulation political ideology has influenced the way they conduct business.

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.
The ‘Koch Method’

Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.

From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments. In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mismeasuring the amount of crude it was extracting. Koch paid a $25 million settlement to the U.S.

Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat — using techniques they called the Koch Method….”

Once upon a time, a lot of this was illegal.  In fact, if you track the movement of the Koch Brothers as they began manipulating oil futures, changes in how derivatives were traded, and their increasingly powerful lobby machine, you can track the rise of the price of oil at the pump.  In order to control the conversation, they now control the GOP.  If the situation weren’t so critical, it would be laughable.

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  • jose maria

    I paid $3.59 a gallon for regular gasoline down here yesterday morning.


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