Showing posts with label BP-Spill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BP-Spill. Show all posts

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Examination of a claim that Obama knew about the BP disaster in advance, and used it to gain $85 million dollars from insider trading

Here is the item, as it was forwarded to me by a certain very intelligent person (no sarcasm - it's true):

On Wed, 23 Jun 2010, ____________ wrote:

 From ______: Thought you should know: Obama is personally standing to earn $85 million or more from the BP oil spill...

Goldman Sachs wasn't alone either in its seeming 'foreknowledge' of the collapse of BP's stock value due to the Gulf disaster as BP's own chief executive, Tony Hayward, sold about one-third of his shares weeks before this catastrophe began unfolding too.

 But according to a report by the Financial Stability Board ( the largest seller of BP stock in the weeks before this disaster occurred was the American investment company known as Vanguard, which through two of their financial arms (Vanguard Windsor II Investor and Vanguard Windsor Investor) unloaded over 1.5 million shares of BP stock saving their investors hundreds of millions of dollars, chief among them President Obama.

President Obama holds all of his wealth in just two Vanguard funds, Vanguard 500 Index Fund where he has 3 accounts and the Vanguard
FTSE Social Index Fund where he holds another 3 accounts, all six of
which the FSB estimates will earn Obama nearly $8.5 million a year and which over 10 years will equal the staggering sum of $85 million.

The FSB further estimates in this report that through Obama's 3 accounts in the Vanguard 500 Index Fund he stands to make another $100 million over the next 10 years as their largest stock holding is in the energy giant Exxon Mobil they believe will eventually acquire BP and all of their assets for what will be essentially a 'rock bottom' price and which very predictably BP has hired Goldman Sachs to advise them on.

 Important to note is that none of this wealth Obama, Goldman Sachs, and others are acquiring would be possible without this disaster. How did Goldman and Vanguard (among others) 'somehow' know what was going to happen before it actually did, including the US energy giant Halliburton which 2 weeks prior to this disaster just happened to purchase the World's largest oil disaster service company. Boots & Coots'.

Yes Hmmmmm... -- I wonder what, if anything, in this article is true. Here is what I came up with (I got the gist of it in about 20 minutes and then spent an hour or 2 putting it down on "paper"):

 I'm not sure, but I think this "Adam Dobson" blog is the primary source for the claim I'm responding to:

There is an "evidence" link in the article (look for the text):
" [President Obama] holds all of his wealth"

which connects to a PDF of a document labeled "Executive Branch Personnel PUBLIC FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORT". This government form would conveniently discourage almost anyone from trying to read it. The only
thing I can easily make out is that it applies to Obama, and the largest identified asset appears to be "U.S. Treasury Bonds" (see below).

Sandi Berns evidently put more work into reading the "evidence" on the Adam Dobson web page. She posted the 1st comment I see (by the time you look it may be several pages down the list) ON the Adam Dobson web page, and she apparently enjoys Moderator status on the Dobson site:

"Sandi Behrns [Moderator] 2 days ago

Stupid, stupid, stupid. The actual documents cited & provided through links indicate that the President holds nearly ALL HIS WEALTH in US Treasury bills, NOT in Vanguard funds. As far as those Vanguard funds go, they are highly diversified funds, not large holdings of individual stocks (this is the reason Obama opted to not use a blind trust - because the transparency is there & a conflict cannot be found.)

As for this "FSB report" that supposedly states that Obama will reap $85M off these funds over 10 years - no link at all is provided. Hmmm.... that would be an incredible return for retirement accounts currently totaling at most $303,003 (yes that's ALL 6 accounts.) I know this site is not the original author of this piece, but really - you should at least review the purported evidence before posting."

She mentions an "FSB report" to which Adam Dobson provides no links.

Another source did supply this link: The site looks fairly intimidating to explore, and it looks to me like they only do very high level reports; a newsflash on Obama's illicit stock gains would look VERY out of place (not to mention I don't see one).

Now, if Rush Limbaugh doesn't mention this, we will know that it is a lie.
If he does, I'll take a 2nd look.

If none of the high visibility right wing commentators has the decency to point out that such lies are being widely distributed[**] targeted to their own audience, it will just confirm my impression that they are pure "ends justifies the means" propagandists with no journalistic ethics.

I have seen this happen before with a hoax based on a misreading of a scientific paper as claiming C02 content in the atmosphere had not significantly grown in the last 100 or so years. If true, it would of course be one of the biggest pieces of news EVER in support of the anti-Admin people's position. But the big guys (i.e. those with visibility and somethiing to lose) never touched it. If they had, all of their audience would have been exposed to the refutations, and that would not be a good thing for THE CAUSE. The result:
generally, the readers of such items NEVER see the miriad refutations or at least not by anyone they trust, so millions continue to believe long refuted claims with no merit whatsover.

I concluded after this that the strategy of the BIG right wing commentators is to let such "throwaway" claims circulate (the Mainstream Media never even notices them) and whether by design or otherwise, they add powerful (though untrue) support to the claims by Limbaugh &c that Obama is a corrupt ideologic fanatic who doesn't believe in anything, who always voted for the most left wing bill (and also always voted "present" on every bill), and a Marxist/Fascist.

Finally, I suspect the claim that Goldman-Sachs acted as if they knew about the impending doom to BP Stocks may also be made up. Such claims often are, to add the credibility of something "everybody knows" to the main thing they are claiming.

[**] "widely distributed": There are 755 quite diverse looking hits on
GOOGLE{obama bp "$85 million" "to earn" goldman-sachs} with very few apparent accidental matches)