I would like to issue an apology to the rest of the world on behalf of the jackasses currently seated in positions of authority within the United States Government. You're not going to get an apology from them, but perhaps if I can share some information, maybe we can elect some people with even just the smallest measure of integrity next election.
First just a statement about my leanings... I used to lean very far right and support the Republican party. The problem is that the Republican party has it's own little agenda, and is filled with what I can only described as corrupt scumbags.
Since seeing the problems with the so-called conservatives, I've been leaning more left. I don't like socialism, but if it's a choice between socialized services and living under a fascist regime, I'll take the socialists everytime.
My opinion now is that both parties have some good principles and representatives who honestly want to do the right thing. They are the minority unfortunately.
I am currently registered Libertarian, but I'm still trying to figure out where the balance of power lies between a representative government and individual freedoms. So with that said. I'm not beholden to one party or the other, and based on the players in this story, I would suspect most people would agree.
First, the following video is an excerpt from 60 minutes last Sunday. It's an investigation into the reason why the oil prices went sky high last year. It's a little long, so perhaps below that, I will provide a summary from my personal understanding, and then I would like to address something called the Enron Loophole.
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OK, so to summarize what I understood the problem to be... The commodities market was established to help regulate prices and assist farmers with determining the price of their crops. Later oil and other items were added to this. All worked as it should until some of the large investment banks got involved in this, and started trading oil futures. My initial reaction was that this would obviously increase the price, but it sounded reasonably fair. Just like stocks, people would trade the futures and as such they increased in value.
The problem is though... Many of the institutions which were trading these futures, were also dabbling in the energy market itself, and while they claim the business entities were separate, my response is a sarcastic, "SURE THEY WERE!!!"
It doesn't matter how you look at this, the whole thing really stinks. It would appear that many of the investment banks who were heavy into oil futures were also recipients of federal bail out money. Then when you look at those behind the Enron Loophole it stinks even more.
The Enron loophole is a piece of legislation which as far as I can tell was drafted by Enron Lobbyists working Senator Phil Gramm from Texas. My understanding is that it allowed Enron to engage in secret trading which was not subject to Federal Regulation.
A few things don't add up here... First, the Government loves to control stuff, so the question has to be asked, Why would the government willingly relinquish control on something like this?
Secondly, Senator Gramm's wife had previously held the position of Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair, and when she left that position in 1993, secured herself a seat on the board of Directors at Enron. A position which she held until Enron collapsed.
So I guess we can figure out a couple of reason why Senator Gramm was pushing for it, and I would suspect that much in the way of political contributions were made to other politicians to help sway their votes. Back in the old days, this kind of things used to be called bribery and corruption.
Now you would think that being from Texas and a Republican, all this would have happened on GW's watch, but I was surprised to learn that it was actually former President Clinton who signed the bill into law.
President Elect Obama spoke about repealing this law during his campaign, and in June of last year, Senator Carl Levin introduced legislation to repeal it. It passed and was then vetoed by President George W. Bush. Following that, the House and Senate both over-rode the veto, and I believe it was late September when the Enron Loophole was finally closed. Ironically, that was when prices of Gasoline started to drop like a rock.
Stephen Colbert has his tip of the hat / wag of the finger segment, and I would like to kind of emulate that here...
A tip of my hat to President Elect Obama and Senator Levin for getting this legislation removed.
And a kick to the groin and a flaming paper bag of poo on the doorsteps of:
Senator Phil Gramm
Former President Bill Clinton
President George W. Bush
To the rest of the world, I'm sorry these assholes were elected, and for the state of your economies. Hopefully we'll exercise better judgment in future elections.