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The Villain Of Our Story

Are speculators really to blame for the high price of oil and skyrocketing inflation?

The outrage over the price of oil has wrought ire on those at the epicenter supply meets demand: speculators. When the Fast Money traders traveled to Chicago they asked CNBC's Rick Santelli if greedy speculators were to blame. He should know, he spends each and everyday in the trading pits!

The topic was ripe for argument on Friday May 16th, the day of our trip. Lawmakers had just backed more oversight as oil prices surged to record highs.

"Right now, there is an orgy of speculation in the energy markets, which is driving up prices for consumers and hurting our economy," said Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan at the time. "Closing the loophole is one important step in our efforts to prevent price manipulation and to wring some of this speculation out of the market in order to put downward pressure on gas prices," he said.

Those kinds of comments sparked outcry from Santelli and others who abhor government interference in the markets. ”Speculation is inherent in a capitalist system,” Santelli said. “Certainly there are speculators who make the ride harder. But blaming the speculators is crazy.”

More action could come soon. About a dozen bills have been introduced to Congress in an attempt to curb speculation. One of them has already passed the House. We'll be watching.

Want more? Click below to see our full interview with Rick Santelli.

> Chicago Ag Trades

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Trader disclosure: On June 30, 2008, the day of taping, following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (BTU), (MSFT), (NUE); Najarian Owns (AAPL), (AMLN), (ANR), (NOK), (NUE), (TSO), (XLF), (YHOO), (HD); Najarian Owns (WFMI) Puts, (MER) Puts, (WFMI) Puts, (HBC) Puts; Najarian Owns (MYGN) Calls, (SLB) Calls, (WM) Calls, (WLT) Calls; Finerman Owns (GS); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (TIP), (FLS), (GLNG); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C) And (C) Leaps; Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (GE) And (GE) Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT), (SUN), (TSO), (TWX), (VLO); Finerman's Firm Owns SPX Index Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns (HUN) Calls; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR), (IJR), (MDY), (SPY), (IWM); Terranova Owns (BNI), (YHOO), (LUV), (CME), (GOOG), (SU), (INTC), (FXC), (IYT), (XLF), (FCX); Terranova Owns Dollar Index Futures

Terranova is chief alternatives strategist at Phoenix Investment Partners;; Phoenix Investment Partners Ltd. Owns (RWX), (DBC), (DBV), (IGE), (AAI), (ALK), (AMR,) (APA), BP plc, British Airways plc, (CHK), (CVX), (COP), (CAL), (DAL), ENI SPA, (FCX), (XOM), Gazprom, (HA), (HES), (HOC), (HSE), (JBLU), Lukoil, (MRO), (MUR), (OXY), Petrobras Intl Fin, Petro-Canada, (POT), (PBR), Petroleos De Venezuela, (QAN), (RJET), Royal Dutch Shell plc A Shares, (SKYW), (LUV,) (SU), (TSO), Texaco Capital, Total SA, (UAUA), (LCC), (VLO)

Other relevant disclosures

Adami Owned (AGU) On 6/18/08: Najarian Owned (BHI) On 5/28/08Phoenix

Gartman Owns (GLD); (JJG); On 6/30/08 Gartman Owned (GLD) On 6/30/08; CIBC Gartman Index Owns Corn, Gold, Copper, Soybeans; On 6/30/08 CIBC Gartman Index Owned Gold, Corn, Copper, Soybeans

Roger Neshem Owns (MON) (AGU) As Of 7/3/08;Roger Neshem Has A Business Relationship With Monsanto; Roger Neshem Owns (MON); Roger Neshem Owns (AGU) As Of 7/3/08; Roger Neshem Has A Business Relationship With Monsanto; Phoenix Investment Partners Is Long (POT)

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