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Class War For Idiots / April 15, 2011

The Kochs Give a Big Enron Fuck You to America

Last week, I wrote that Kochs Industries’ recent fight against financial regulation and aggressive defense of unregulated derivatives via the “Enron Loophole” was a clear sign that the company was using its position as a large-scale marketer of oil and other energy commodities to manipulate prices.

Well, thanks to recent reporting by Lee Fang, we now know this for a fact. Traders working for Koch Industries not only gave PowerPoint presentations outlining their plans to drive up the price of oil, but openly boasted about gaming the market in the business press.

Come “contango” with the Kochs. It only costs $1 more per gallon…

Their methods weren’t that different from the ones used by Enron to boost the price of electricity: instead of shutting down power plants, Koch Industries siphons millions of gallons of oil into storage tanks. ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang writes:

In 2008, Koch called attention to itself for “contango” oil market manipulation. A commodity market is said to be in contango when future prices are expected to rise, that is, when demand is expected to outstrip supply. Big banks and companies like Koch employ a contango strategy by buying up oil and storing it in massive containers both on land and offshore to lock in the oil for sale later at a set price. In December of 2008, Koch leased “four supertankers to hold oil in the U.S. Gulf Coast to take advantage of rising prices in the months ahead.” Writing about Koch’s contango efforts to artificially drive down supply, Fortune magazine writer Jon Birger noted they could be raising “gasoline prices by anywhere from 20 to 40 cents a gallon” at the time. Speaking with the Business Times, Koch executive David Chang even boasted that falling crude prices in 2008 provided an opportunity remove oil from the market for future delivery:

CHANG: The drop in crude oil prices from more than US$145 per barrel in July 2008 to less than US$35 per barrel in December 2008 has presented opportunities for companies such as ours. In the physical business, purchases of crude oil from producers and storing offshore in tankers allow us to benefit from the contango market where crude prices are higher for future delivery than for prompt delivery.

Yep, I guess all the speculatory fraud apologists at Cato are totally right. There’s nothing evil or sinister about billionaires who physically hoard oil supplies to drive up prices. No sir, nothing wrong with it. It’s all a necessary part of the new market economy, where speculators, billionaires, small farmers, young professionals and nice old pensioners all come together in harmony to find prosperity and happiness. Sure, commodities might come with a built-in billionaire tax. But so what? We can’t expect a free capitalistic society to be free. It costs an extra buck or two per gallon.

Here’s one more bit from Fang’s piece:

In recent weeks, gas prices around the country have surged to levels unseen since the 2008 oil spike. However, market fundamentals are not driving the nearly $4.00/gallon gas prices. In fact, under the Obama administration, oil production is at record highs and there is adequate global supply of crude. As Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Bart Chilton has explained, rampant oil speculation, which is at its highest level on record right now, is to blame for current prices.

To put it another way: Forget what you learned about supply and demand. Everyone agrees the oil market is more rigged than a truckstop slot machine.

“What? Is the price of oil going up because of scarcity? Ah…Yeah, sure thing. That, and because of green shoots economic recovery! Haaaaaaaaahaa!

This is why I’ve always been skeptical of the peak oil crowd. Their constant hysteria and focus on dwindling oil supplies—which they say will be tapped out very soon, plunging us into a post-apocalyptic world filled with roving bands of cannibals, dirty midgets, a gold-based economy, dehydrated veggies and Thunderdome entertainment—works only to the benefit of market manipulators like the Kochs. It helps reinforce in the popular mind the idea that today’s astronomical oil prices are somehow linked to scarcity and dwindling world oil reserves–which of course they are not.

Try searching the Internet for information on the oil market. Peak oil theories will be on 7 out of 10 pages you’ll hit.

Peak Oil Theory says: After 2040 comes the Dark Dehydrated Food Age of NO!

***

Yasha Levine is a founding editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com. Read his book: The Corruption of Malcolm Gladwell.

Click the cover, buy the book!

Want to know more? Check out other Koch takedowns here: The eXiled vs. The Kochs.

47 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Brilliant  |  April 15th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Being a Koch sock puppet suck up is so pathetic. Imagine sitting in a cubicle all day and commenting on hundreds of blogs a day, day after day, the same pro-billionaire bullshit for minimum wage? Please someone…end my misery? Please. This is a cry for help! I’m serious. But now my boss is coming down the aisle so I got to post this anyway. I have a quota to fill, after all! Here I go:

    I’m so bored by this. Speculation does drive up prices, but it also prevents shortages. If the greedy capitalist pigs suddenly stopped speculating, it would lead to shortages, and Yasha would bitch about that, too.

  • 2. fairmarketnotindendedasfactualstatment  |  April 15th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Peak oil has alot of flaws, but there are supply forces at work in the oil market.

    Cheap crude the kind that you can get by sticking a straw in the desert sand is growing scarcer not that anyone has really given a flying fuck because oil has been at high enough levels to make more difficult kinds of crude extraction profitable.

    Hell oil companies are poping boners running to extract what is quite possible the most expensive oil in the world to extract, in deep ocean water, of course of the profitability comes from discarding safety into the bottom line trash heap.

    It just goes to show how rife with manipulation the oil market is, you know the same thing is happening with the global food/wheat/agriculture markets. Industrialized farming has been a heavy handed ‘recommendation’ attached to IMF and World Bank loans, yet there are still mass food shortages across the world.

  • 3. McDipshit Economist  |  April 15th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    You’re totally right, dude. The only thing I want to add what you left out is that there is a difference between hoarders who have physical control of the stuff they trade and mere speculators who are only dealing in paper. To a degree, speculators serve a purpose. They can buy commodities when prices are relatively low then sell them when prices are relatively high thus increasing the supply thus lowering the price. The alternative is to have no stockpiles then get royally fucked when there’s a crisis or shortage or something. Did you ever wonder famine doesn’t plague (relatively) capitalist nations yet tends to wipe out millions in (relatively) socialist nations? Wait, I’m not sure that’s even true…but you get the idea. But speculators like the Kochs don’t just play the market, they are the market. Or rather: the market is whatever they make it to be. If they controlled air and it was it more useful for them to hoard it and suffucate people, they would do it.

    Thanks for hearing me out. I hope this was useful to some of you!

    —Huge eXiled Fan

  • 4. Clint  |  April 15th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I read this and tried to see what they did that was so horrible. They paid for some oil and then held it until the price went up and then sold it? Is that it? A few tankers full of crude won’t manipulate the market to any great extent so it was just a matter of them profiting from buying low and selling high?

    I see it as pretty analogous to a union trying to artificially limit the labour market so they can drive up the cost of labour and improve their profit margin.

    As long as they don’t resort to fraud, violence or buying political cronyism I think that both are well within their rights.

    This comment is paid for by the Association of Koch Lackeys & Cumbuckets LLC. “I’m Charles Koch, and I approve of this comment.”

  • 5. tt  |  April 15th, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Kochs hoarding oil is not manipulation.
    That is how the market is supposed to work.
    It is the exact reason why it is so efficient in transferring money to the Kochs.

    Peak oil is fact, the consequenses on the other hand may vary.

    This comment was brought to you by the Association of Koch Lackeys & Cumbuckets LP. Not to be confused with Association of Koch Lackeys & Cumbuckets LLC, an totally unrelated company, which produced the previous comment above ours.

  • 6. tt  |  April 15th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Wow…The ministry of truth came and censored my comment. Thank you so much! Mankinds only alternative is Die Stasi? That comparison was my boss’s idea. Pretty clever huh?

    You article shows deep lack of understanding for peak oil and how society and futures market works.. maybe I shoulda taken the time to explain why.. but I realize now that it’s gonna be a wasted effort because i’m no one gives a shit what an annonymous billioanire suck up like me thinks

  • 7. Doug  |  April 16th, 2011 at 1:09 am

    So your entire case seems to be built around a single piece of evidence, the quote by Chang:

    “In the physical business, purchases of crude oil from producers and storing offshore in tankers allow us to benefit from the contango market where crude prices are higher for future delivery than for prompt delivery.”

    Ummm, how exactly is this related to manipulation? Let me construct an analogous statement:

    “In the conspiracy theory publishing business, purchase of poorly reasoned and written articles from producers and publishing them on an over-rated website allow us to benefit from moron readers who will read any hackneyed crap but only if its associated with someone Dylan Rattigan”

    Does this mean that The Exiled manipulated the Internet reading public and turned them into morons to satisfy its own insidious business plan to sell (ads on) articles that only the moron market would buy?

    No I think your typical Exiled reader was a dipshit well before you stepped on the scene. Like the Kochs, who are buying a cheap input (poorly written articles/front month crude) and transforming it into a more expensive output (overrated website/back month crude), you are just running a business.

    That isn’t called market manipulation. That’s just called a market. That’s how a market work. Now you might want to carry on the good fight and rally on with Comrade Lenin about how all markets are evil and speculators should be shot. But I’m pretty sure that fight is long done and over.

    Sincerly,
    Wall Steet Dickhead

  • 8. huh  |  April 16th, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Theres a slight problem with smearing peak oilers as billionaire toe-suckers. Yeah sure, inflated prices are caused by a cabal of billionaire vampire capitalists, cackling in their 3 story yachts at the rubes who believe in supply scarcity. But what about the conspiracy of OPEC countries inflating their oil reserves to boost their production quotas? Which, its pretty friggen obvious that they do, unless you think that pumping billions of barrels of oil over decades without any drop in reserve estimates (in many cases, they have increased) is not the least bit suspicious. You see, there are competing groups of billionaires whose subterfuge demands our attention: the finance-capital speculator billionaires and the middle eastern petro-monarchy billionaires (currently busying themselves killing protestors in Bahrain). Two groups of obscenely wealthy cockroaches are conspiring towards opposite ends, one toward artificial scarcity, and the other to artificial supply. So which group overmatches the other? The jury is out, but I lean towards supply scarcity. Lets not forget that the state oil companies certainly aren’t small fish dwarfed by the likes of the Kochs; Saudi Aramco is the most valuable company in the world. In conclusion, the fact that the exiled consistently call out one group of billionaire pigs without mentioning the other, makes me suspect that you like sucking the toes of arab royalty and OPEC state oil company executives? Since this could be the only possible reason you believe in that foolish ‘speculation’ tripe; you’re in the pockets of the Saudi royal family.

  • 9. badnewswade  |  April 16th, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Heh heh, give it to ‘em Yasha. This is from an email I sent someone along with this link:

    We in the West are a civilisation of junkies and our drug is liquid fuel. We have made our dealers angry and they are punishing us with high prices. The fact is that every decade or two the Arabs and Russians turn down the taps and laugh as we jump around like smackheads Jonesing for a fix. Then, like a junkie threatening his dealer with the rehab clinic, we whine that we’re going to get off the stuff and go onto that nice clean renewable energy, or electric cars (the methadone of the petro-junkie). We all know it’ll never happen, but eventually either someone blinks, or demand is crushed so much that further gouging becomes unprofitable, and the taps get turned on again. The electric car and renewable energy die a quick and quiet death as fuel prices collapse, and everyone buys themselves a gas guzzler.

    This happened in the 70s, it happened in the 80s, it happened very briefly in the early 90s, and it’s happening today. No peak oil, no conspiracy, just a combination of trading with people who consider themselves our societies enemies and having the marketplace rigged by mega-rich, selfish, evil right wing bastards with a lot of pull downtown.

    Mind you, if Peak Oil really is happening, we’re so woefully incapable of dealing with it that planning to survive it is as pointless as planning to survive a nuclear war. A few electric cars ain’t gonna cut the mustard when our main energy source does go down for good.

    Conclusion: It probably isn’t happening, but if it is, pretend it isn’t, because the results of a REAL oil shock would be literally apocalyptic.

  • 10. Paul  |  April 16th, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Peak oil could well be accurate, the problem is with how it is interpreted.

    If one believes market ideology then surely smart businessmen would be switching to renewables, nuclear or whatever. But instead peak oil is used to justify expense while lobbying and austerity is used to undermine any governmental support for renewable energy development while the oil industry makes huge amounts of money from fraud.

    The problem here isn’t the science behind peak oil or the lack thereof but the way it is manipulated as a concept to enrich oilmen like the Kochs.

    Think of it like the war on drugs. Sure illegal distribution of drugs leads to crime but instead of legalisation or shifting policy to reduce that crime it is used as a great way to lock up black people in private prisons and use them to work for corporations at well below minimum wage.

  • 11. McComment  |  April 16th, 2011 at 7:11 am

    You need speculators. To buy commodities when prices are relatively low then sell them when prices are relatively high thus increasing the supply thus lowering the price. The alternative is to have no stockpiles then get royally fucked when there’s a crisis or shortage or something. Did you ever wonder famine doesn’t plague (relatively) capitalist nations yet tends to wipe out millions in (relatively) socialist nations? I don’t mind you exposing supposed free market crooks as they try to monopolise the market (with massive help of the government, funny enough) as it’s clearly admirable but when you start writing about basic economics without an ounce of understanding it makes you look like a fool and diminishes your entire argument. Thus aiding crooks like the Kochs who’re you’re trying to expose. Unless, of course, that’s your goal.

    A word to the wise: if you’re looking for a way to attack the free market, don’t use guys whose entire fortune depends on intervention government. If you’re looking to expose crooks like the Kochs, don’t get sidetracked by things you know next to nothing about.

  • 12. Fissile  |  April 16th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I understand why some would defend speculation. Financial speculation acts as a sort of insurance policy that, when properly employed, helps to dampen market cycles and make it easier for business to plan for the future. There is a place in the world for speculation. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to abuse this mechanism. For example, unsophisticated working class people are sucked into speculative markets thinking that what they are doing is “investing”, when in fact they are gambling. It’s one thing for a person with a net worth of $100 million to lose 10% of his assets playing the market. It is something else entirely for a working person to lose the $250K they were saving for their retirement.

    The above stated reason is why financial markets need to be strictly regulated by the Feds, irrespective of what the Randoids say. Unregulated speculation degenerates into outright fraud, as is happening now. If we continue along this path much longer, the damage done will be much worse than in an economy that allows no speculation at all. The super-rich are being very shortsighted. They should be the ones demanding new regulations on the markets because their very lives will depend on it.

  • 13. Jimmy  |  April 16th, 2011 at 7:59 am

    So, when do we start claiming that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is hoarding oil to drive up prices? If this is all you can get the Koch brothers on, you are quite the moron.

    If you have never heard of the word contango, you have no business writing about commodities at all. Commodities like oil are expensive to store, and this tends to be reflected in the price of futures contracts. This is not manipulation at all. The most contangoed commodity of all in recent years has been natural gas. It really hasn’t gone up at all, despite buyers, massive storage, and this contango thing you write about.

    So, please, do yourself a favor and write about something you understand, and don’t waste everyone’s time.

  • 14. abc123  |  April 16th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Does the exile still not manipulate peoples comments?

  • 15. dermotmoconnor  |  April 16th, 2011 at 9:41 am

    It’s always surprising and sad when otherwise insightful minds seem to lose their grip when Peak Oil is mentioned.

    It’s geology guys.

    Of course, Peak Oil AND market manipulation are not mutually exclusive. You can have both at the same time, you know.

  • 16. Clint  |  April 16th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Your editing and censoring of comments with childish ad hominem attacks is a fine tactic if you want to make sure that you are never questioned or challenged in your ideology. I think it is intellectually stunting to try and live your life with absolute certainty that you can never be wrong and that anybody who disagrees with you is automatically wrong.

    Then again it seemed to work out for some people who embrace this world view, so I wish you luck in joining your philosophical peers… you know, people like Rush Limbaugh.

  • 17. Sublime Oblivion  |  April 16th, 2011 at 11:25 am

    You’re going to far with this now.

    Believe it or not, the world doesn’t revolve the Kochs.

    Nor does it contain endless oil.

  • 18. floodingupeconomics  |  April 16th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    @Mc Dipshit/Mc Comment
    You’re wrong… you see speculators don’t actually help supply because they don’t hold the oil themselves. They just fuck with prices, if you don’t have to hold the good you are gambling on price movement without changing supply directly. If anything by your definition what the Kochs are doing is helpful, this makes me suspect you sympthasize with them despite your claim not to.

    @Clint @tt
    However, in actuality the Kochs are market movers, note the quote: “Writing about Koch’s contango efforts to artificially drive down supply, Fortune magazine writer Jon Birger noted they could be raising “gasoline prices by anywhere from 20 to 40 cents a gallon” at the time”, and irregardless even if the Kochs don’t effect prices they are still in a position in the industry where they are trading with inside inforation. If derivatives were regulated this insider trading would be highly illegal.

    But as it stands derivatives are one of the last sources of significant profits the financial sector has in this economy as derivatives are almost entirely unregulated, so don’t hold your breath for regulation anytime soon… what with lobbyists and the like.In essence, what derivatives allow is for financial companies to insert themselves in between commodity producers and purchasers. Going with the drug analogy, this is called a middle man. Generally speaking they don’t add value they just add a markup.

    For all you supporters of speculation… ask yourselves if demand is a smooth moving process (as is widely-accepted in econ/finance) why has increased financial activity in the derivative markets increased price swings rather than smoothed them if it actually contributes to efficient pricing.

    @Doug
    From your other posts… I’ve realized its not worth even getting started in a dialogue with you.

  • 19. badnewswade  |  April 16th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I think you are being too hard on Yasha. The first seven comments were obvious sockpuppets. What’s he supposed to do, let the bastards tramp all over his website? They’ve already fucked his country with their shit-awful fake “protest movement” f’rChrissakes.

    Keep swatting those scum. I bet they all have the same frigging IP address.

  • 20. Marsovka  |  April 16th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    You are missing another factor. Inflation and fears of more inflation driving up the market Yasha. Yes I have read all about the the build up of invetories, and how is speculation driven. All thanks to keynsism and helicopter Ben. But that doesn’ mean the peak oil isn’t real and that we have a choise pay more for oil so we spend less and have it spent on more longer time line ( no matter how painfull is). Or have dirt cheap oil spent it fast and now and in 10-20 year we will be fucked and really have the apocalipse. O wait we are one in it. Point is Yasha we are fucked and not because of Koch Brothers. But because we behave on a finite planet can have infinite growth and infinite resources .
    And we are I think in the middle of peak oil because some guy with a whacky chart predicted peak oil would happen 50 years ago.

  • 21. unger  |  April 16th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    You don’t think there’s anything amiss or dangerous in assuming that all your opponents are sockpuppets.

  • 22. Xenophon's Mama  |  April 16th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I gotta agree with post 17 because the world doesn’t revolve around the Kochs. The Exiled just benefit from having a powerful archnemesis who they know plenty about. Everyone plays oil this way and there are more powerful gamers. Goldman is a bigger player in oil than Koch Industries, the Kochs are just a better target for Levine to hit because he’s been plucking their arse for years and knows it like his hairy palms.

    Yep, clearly this is all abut eXiled opportunism. The Kochs are nothing special, maaaaan. Like, comon, maaaaaan. They’re like only like the richest rightwing billionaires in the world, whose money isn’t tied up in some bullshit publicly traded company that can be popped like a zit with a nice stock sell off. No, their wealth is well protected from the market that they are so adept at manipulating. So clearly they’re not important, maaaan, just good targets. But what do I know, I’m just an apologist for oligarchs that’s all.

  • 23. Xenophon's Mama  |  April 16th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Levine why don’t you listen to meeeeee! Kochs ain’t be rule the world, all I say

  • 24. Xenophon's Mama  |  April 16th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Stop lolling at me Levine! Seriously! Why dontcha let me keep being fadget and get over the fact that there are a bunch of scammer apologists trolling The eXiled all the time. There’s no reason to want to shut us the fuck up and in monitoring the comments on this article because it disturbs us just as much when you write stuff like this, as you did with other Koch-punches. I like you Levine, don’t make me write another comment which will never see the light of day. Because that will really make me mad. Really really.

  • 25. Xenophon's Mama  |  April 16th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Lol. Watching your appearance on RT I was like damn I’m really jealous that I’ll never be on tv and no one will ever give a shit about what I say. But hey I’ll still be an anonymous loser dispensing advice to Gods: Take more dex before appearing on TV, it kills the stammers. Don’t be shy! You are a very bright boy once you take off the tinfoil cap.

    The Koch’s are probably the worst. Comparing them to other offenders like Goldman and perhaps showing how Kochs are more deserving of the pitchfork is a better way of going about it than just saying “look at these rich fuckers! How they gloat!”

    Waiting for you to write a “Going Postal” style takedown of the Kochs. Tips for getting an interview: pretend you are Andre Agassi or, better yet, Pierre Woodman.

  • 26. Doug  |  April 16th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Hahaha. I thought you people were half-joking about this before. But I think you people sincerely that the Kochs actually hire people to act as their Internet mouthpieces. So do you think there’s like a big warehouse somewhere, where thousands of people are sitting typing mean comments at left-wing Internet blogs.

    Of course! No wonder those bastards are so powerful. Everyone knows the route to controlling the American public is by controlling their information. And of course everyone knows if you can convince the literally gigantic segment of the population that gets their news and opinions from comments on Internet blogs, you’ve done it. Goebbels himself would have scarcely thought of a more devious and ingenious method of propaganda than trolling Internet comment threads.

    Seriously though you people have gone crazy. How old are you? I mean I can understand Levine and Ames thinking this. From what I understand between them they’ve probably consumed enough amphetamines to kill an entire pack of elephants. I’m just surprised they don’t think the Kochs are in cahoots with the CIA to implant listening devices in their brain. But c’mon the rest of you, what’s your excuse? You’re grown men.

    This comment was produced by New Media Strategies and financed by “Billionaires’ Ass Maggots for Charles & David Koch PAC.”

  • 27. Grimminy  |  April 16th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I would point out that in addition to hoarding stockpiles, the reason the Koch bros and the industry in general is so active in trying to get the EPA shut down is not because the EPA is getting in the way of increasing capacity, but the opposite, because the EPA makes it onerous to shut down refineries, and therefore more difficult for the producers to restrict supply and more effectively manipulate the market. If you look at the numbers, there is no crude oil shortage – the tanks at Cushing are all absolutely full. The bottleneck is in refining. Where you might expect that, in such a situation, the number of refineries would be increasing, the truth is that the number of refineries in America is half of what it was in 1980, and our refining capacity is about the same as it was in 1980 (those are DOE numbers.) And the more refineries get shut down, the more scarce refined crude products are, and the more the price is manipulable by the few players in the market. Mark my words – if the EPA gets defunded like the republicans want, the price of gasoline will go up, not down.

  • 28. tt  |  April 16th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    What is the point of having comments, if any fact counting against the validity of the article is edited for clarity and grammer?

    You are undermining the whole point of comments. You make the exile look more inline with the likes of FOXnews and the Media of the People’s Republic of China.

    Forward futureprices are formed by intricate interactions between buyers,sellers,storage,arbitrage,liquidity providers,margin limits,interest rates,markets expectations,seasonal availability, various cost of taking physical delivery.. the list is looong, this is just a few.

    “hoarding” or taking physical delivery is not costfree. And is reflected in the forward prices. Deviations from the theoretical future price, is scalped away extremely fast by the legions of arbitragebots funded and operated by Goldman Sachs and their kind.

    The Kochs are leveraging their size, liquidity and position. Where they prob have some of the lowest storagecost of the marketparticipants. Thus they can create a profit when there is an imbalance/distortion in the marketplace. This is the market as usual, it is how the exchanges are supposed to work. It is like buying stocks in CocaCola Company one day, hoping to sell it for a higher price the future.

  • 29. Yam Digger  |  April 16th, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Look on the brighter side: if petroleum fuel prices remain high and go even higher, this will actually make alternative fuel sources more attractive to industry and the average Joe, and will even spur on research to make alternatives more efficient and cheaper. The Cock…ahmmm I mean the Koch brothers my well be shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.

  • 30. RanDomino  |  April 16th, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Peak Oil is a ‘sooner or later’ thing. There’s not an infinite amount of oil, therefore it will run out. I think the high price of oil right now is due to speculation and ripping people off, rather than due to peak oil, but like #15 said, it’s geology.

    @21. unger: Did you see Madison today? 300-600 teabaggers turned out for Sarah Palin and 5000+ citizens came and shouted her down. The right wing doesn’t actually exist.

  • 31. Teskulon  |  April 16th, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Here’s the thing. I’m too much of a pussy to acknowledge that rightwingers turned this country into an oligarchy, fucked the economic system, and lost us two wars. It hurts too much because I carry the Kochs water, and the water of any other rightwinger. I am a right-wing cumbucket, sort of like Jim Goad or Gavin McInnes, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well okay I am ashamed to admit it, so I’ll be anonymous here, but still, I think some day the rightwingers who hire me out will realize how useful I am and pay me something like a foot-lackey’s salary. Pretty cool, eh?

  • 32. Toni M  |  April 17th, 2011 at 3:28 am

    It’s been proven time and time again that all sorts of large companies pay to infiltrate comment sections, social media and forums to distort opinion and repeat the company line.

    It’s not their main source of propaganda, but it’s so cheap and easy to do that they’d be idiots not to.

    It’s all about distorting the real world over and over and over again until the more gullible believe it, parrot it, and do their job for them. I struggle to believe that a genuine human commenter would be shocked by this.

  • 33. Uncle B  |  April 17th, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Simple differences ignored here. America, when it once was a Democracy, provided for its masses, its proletariat, the patriots, peons, common folk. Modern day America, as a corpocracy, provides primarily for its corporations, even giving these sociopathic, synthetic, ‘persons’ access to political clout, influence, in a government, once-upon-a-time, “By the People, For the People”
    America is broke now, robbed of its great fortunes by Corporatists, Capitalists, who, in fact, absconded with entrusted, American arm-pit generated, Capital to Asia to serve their stock-holders, shareholders, better. The results? What you see in America today! Asian designed, Asian manufactured, American assembled in some cases, cars abound.Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Studebakers, Packards, all gone. Honda, Hyundai, Toyota,all easy to find. Detroit City, once touted as a world-class cultural center, now compared derisively, to Third World Johannesburg, listing photos of the ruins on this same internet as folk-art, goddammit! Unemployables in the streets, alcohol abuse becoming common, rising drug addiction, calls for legalizing sedating drugs for the masses, huge sections of proletariat, reduced to precariat, the phrase super-prison enters the vernacular, even many souls disenfranchised totally.The economy, with the U.S. dollar, falling so fast hyper-inflation cautions are heard. Even the mighty nation’s infrastructure crumbles as the profit-taking continues, the barracuda Capitalists create money without the working man’s worth, seemingly out of thin air, on paper, like a magic-show, no labor input, no product produced, no valuable tangibles added,all by crafty financial and legal manipulations.
    In gated, armed guarded, fenced in compounds, live a very few, in royal luxury. With Maybach, Roll Royce,and materialistic pleasures unknown to the common precariat, even with better medical care than anyone in all history, in their gilded cages the collect dividend checks while their ‘people’ an army of corrupt, capitalist, lawyers, accountants plot to screw America. This is the top! Where most deluded propagandized precariat would like to be, think they may one day have a chance at attaining. fact is: Even the smaller goal, an income of $250k,tax free is reserved for as few as would win the lotteries in America. Goddammit! Fact is America has a new, post European royalty!

  • 34. Plamen  |  April 17th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    woah.
    the comment section is busy with the shills and the trolls. I just hope all you paid shills are making as much money as the Koches playing the fee market the same way they are and raking in the bux. Er, no? Then why waste time defending them? If this is how free capitalists markets are supposed to work, no wonder real capitalims never actually existed and all those Communists thinkers were right, it’s a;w3ays just imperialism.
    Peak oil a scare only? Is oil a replenishible and renewable resource? No? Of course it will end one day. and I suspect the easy to access oil IS finishing. No wonder USA and now Nato are all over the Middle East
    ding the same old imperialistic grab. The moe things change the more they stay the same.
    Is the market being manipulated? Bet your sweet whatever it is. Is that fair? Well that depend on what you mean by “fair”.

  • 35. Ben the Koch Cumbucket  |  April 17th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I have an idea. I’m going to find another way to try to rationalize the Kochs hoarding and fucking the rest of us. Yeah, I’m just a regular commenter, not a Koch troll, no sirree! I’m going to spend my days trying to make excuses for them, just on my own, because I’m not a troll, not at all! So, here’s my totally spontaneous not-paid-for comment:
    lets take the exact same situation and replace the word oil with grain. The evil hoarders keep their grain just sitting in a silo until the price goes up during the winter. The they sell it during the winter and evily make more money than if they had just sold it as soon as they made it.
    You see what this does? It reduces spikes in the price of oil/grain.

  • 36. Xenophon's Mama  |  April 17th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Lolling x2 now at comments like #33.
    The thought corridor: “If Moderator edits a post and thinks it is a Koch-fraud, then all edited posts are Koch-frauds.”
    Koch spammers lie in wait, reading all the Dolan, Levine, and Ames they can before unleashing a dribbling torrent of doubt upon unsuspecting readers.
    ——–
    Wars in the Near East tend to get launched to settle oil exports, yarrr, but if you are talking about Libya you best contain yourself at least for a quick moment. Libya is about more than oil. Qaddafi had beneficial agreements with the Crackers up north but he was unreliable and landed himself in the spotlight one too many times.
    ——–
    The French are going to have a sizable stake in Libyan oil with concessions going to the US and Britain for helping out but oil is only the half of it. With the friendly tribe from Benghazi in charge, the Whites will benefit from oil agreements as well as any other rapacious customs taxes and all the yummy agreements we’ve come to expect in the last eight thousand years of empire.
    ——-
    France is undergoing a tiny bit of an Imperial resurgence. Time will tell if France’s aggressive foreign policy succeeds in winning the election for conservatives or if it merely succeeds in advancing aggression over the heads of the ineffectual Socialists.
    My estimate is the latter. I expect an Obama to announce himself in the form of Segolene Royal in 2012. Segolene Royal will be a lame duck out of the box and so will be any candidate who bests her.
    ——–
    Errrbody likes to focus on the US but I think we miss the delicious opportunities for French arbitrage-of-force when we linger on the Amerikans.
    ——–
    This really belongs in the War Nerd articles but, WhatTheFlex, you guys riled me up.

  • 37. floodingupeconomics  |  April 17th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    @tt

    Your basically regurgitating the perfect market hypothesis… as the subject of the article is the influence of price-makers and holders of inside information, your use of the theory is not economically valid in the context at hand.

  • 38. Tyler Bass  |  April 17th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Lee Fang has turned out to be quite the talent.

  • 39. yawn  |  April 17th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    you wanna know my secret to sounding like i’m one of those “in-the-know” peasants who actually doesn’t know jackshit but pretends he does to give the impression that he’s one with billionaires? here’s my secret: pretend that what’s going on is nothing new. Seriously, makes me sound so bad-assed and hard-nosed. So, here’s my comment:

    nothing new. trade on it. circa 1792.

    betcha you think i’m really tough and scary, as well as rich, dontcha?

  • 40. EJK  |  April 18th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Just got banned from CommonDreams and TruthDig for linking to this YT video:

  • 41. matt  |  April 18th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    The Kochs are now buying ads online to counter all the negative stories about them.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/18/kochs-industries-buying-ads-to-refute-news-stories/

  • 42. dirtykoch  |  April 19th, 2011 at 1:47 am

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-20054444-10391709.html?tag=contentBody;listingLeadStories

    Note to any dirty Kochs out there- this is how a real fun AND nice billionaires behaves! They invent shit of use, donate most of their money to charity and aren’t assholes on humanity.

    History will revere Paul Allen. Recent history by Fox News lackeys will suck you off. As for far distant history? It’ll make sure that you Kochs are covered in shit for eternity. Enjoy your legacy, assholes.

  • 43. Randy Linamen  |  April 20th, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Take up God-given Second Amendment Rights. Watch pig bullies disappear and gas prices fall to 20 cents a gallon like when I was young. Hard to argue with Death.

  • 44. a  |  April 22nd, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    The number of oil futures contracts outweighs the actually ability to receive or deliver oil by so much that the storage tankers and refineries couldn’t possible account for all of it if they were called due.

    Force limits on traders who have no intention on taking delivery and it will all stop.

    It has nothing to do with a supply/demand market, it is a digital representation of the fantasy possession of a commodity, they might as well be playing Magic the Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons. The traders that manipulate the market will only get as close to a barrel of oil as when their chauffeur fills up the tank.

    Indeed, those most concerned about 2nd amendment rights are the very ones being used and abused by such people. One day, they might even wake up and realize those who own the guns, wins.

  • 45. misanthropope  |  April 26th, 2011 at 12:49 am

    the Cocks are scumbags, but that doesn’t make any accusation you feel like flinging, valid. The bizarre pricing (oil futures being priced above the spot price) preceded the hoarding- the possibility of “someone” making money by renting some tankers was readily available in multiple investment-related forums.

    Capisce? Not only is “post hoc ergo propter hoc” a logical fallacy, the “post hoc” part is plainly counterfactual. The Cocks’ little daytraders were gloating about their genius? hint: all daytraders do that, and they are universally wrong. a third rate intellect and hypertrophied ego are both kind of essential to being a trader.

  • 46. Bob Darling  |  February 26th, 2012 at 6:11 am

    This takes me back to the “malaise days” of Jimmy Carter. Remember the “oil shortage”? In the 70s, due to shortages of gas, prices rose rapidly causing inflation. During that time I was on my bike and low on gas. It was a Sunday and the stations were closed due to the “gas shortage”. I found a tanker filling a station’s tanks and jokingly asked if I could get some gas from him. We talked about the shortage and he told me the owners of various stations he delivers to not only had plenty of gas, but had leased as many storage tanks as they could find to hoard gas. The price was going up so fast that if you sat on your supply your profit would be much greater. That same year I was on a trip to California and was talking to a dock worker from Baltimore. He said ships were anchored off shore waiting to unload. We had a glut of oil actually coming into our country. Also my roommate’s father worked at the refinery in Joliet Illinois. This was the first time he had ever seen all storage tanks full. Like the Enron scandal the industry creates a shortage to increase price. It seems the industry is going to try to ”Carter” Obama. I hope we can see through this charade and avoid the consequences of industry manipulation.

  • 47. JDean  |  February 26th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    A lot of folks don’t believe there are limits to oil production.

    Like you they believe that the oil in the ground exceeds the mass and volume of the universe.

    Only the special properties of oil prevent the Earth from collapsing into a black hole and sucking the universe in after it.

    Pity the fools that think that the oil in the ground is finite, and that there are hard physical limits to production.


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