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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Obama, Soros, Petrobras: Time for a Congressional Investigation

In an op-ed in today's New York Times entitled "The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party" (, Frank Rich establishes a new benchmark for naivete combined with bias. Asserting that the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch have personal agendas that extend beyond the interests of the conservative elements whom they support, Rich would have us believe that this alleged phenomenon is unique to the Right and makes light of the financial support provided by George Soros to the Left:

"Soros is a publicity hound who is transparent about where he shovels his money. And like many liberals — selflessly or foolishly, depending on your point of view — he supports causes that are unrelated to his business interests and that, if anything, raise his taxes."

Ultra-rich Leftists support causes that are entirely unrelated to their business interests? Rich should have at least mentioned the controversy that has erupted involving the multi-billion dollar U.S. loan to Petrobras for Brazilian offshore oil drilling. Yes, I know: Glenn Beck raised the issue on Fox (, but regardless of what you think of Beck, in this instance there is something involving this loan that doesn't seem wholesome.

I don't have all the facts (this would require an investigation which I would be delighted to manage); however, it is known that the Export-Import Bank of the United States is lending up to $2 billion to finance exports to the Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., known as Petrobras, over the next several years, and George Soros is heavily invested in Petrobras.

It has been argued that the commitment of the Export-Import Bank of the United States to this loan was bipartisan and predated the arrival of Obama’s appointees to the Ex-Im board (; however, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, Brazilian officials met with White House National Security Adviser James Jones to discuss the matter (

Will this arrangement create American jobs? Maybe. I would need to see the agreement. However, a host of other questions arise:

• Couldn't $2 billion be better used to create U.S. jobs to improve U.S. infrastructure?

• Why is one of the largest, wealthiest companies in the world the beneficiary of American largesse at a time when the U.S. economy is in such a dire way?

• Why is the U.S. providing this assistance given Brazil's support of Iran's nuclear aspirations?

I am not suggesting that something illegal has occurred, but I certainly doubt its desirability.

Moreover, there is nothing angelic about either liberal or conservative benefactors, and as sadly demonstrated by the Obama administration, there is no altruism in politics.


  1. Maybe the US economy isn't in such a dire way? I mean, maybe there is an entire subtextual economic trajectory no one except the oligarchs know about? Holed up in their palacial cave-like dwellings, impervious to interactions with anyone other than their lackeys, perhaps they have created this mass illusion of financial collapse? After all, so many countries are still on the US donation list, Petroleo gets bucks along with how many others we may not know about...Do I sound paranoid or just phobic?

  2. happyminyan:

    They did not create "illusion" of financial collapse. They caused the collapse outside of their palaces - and continue doing the same for their own benefit.

  3. Jeffrey,

    When you cite the incredible and well, slightly unhinged conspiracy theories of Glenn Beck regarding George Soros, you give me reason to question your judgment.

    You're obviously not an obtuse or uneducated man. So why would you promote something so obviously kooky?