I am a BP shareholder (replies to Rosie O'Donnell, Alex Jones, Congress)

I am a BP shareholder, and I’d like to address some reckless statements by Rosie O’Donnell, Alex Jones, and Congress right now.

BP is the fourth largest company in the world. Lots of people own BP–greedy capitalists like school teachers and bus drivers and dentists and lawyers and accountants and your business associates and your neighbors. From Wikipedia:

BP plc is a British global energy company which is the third largest energy company and the fourth largest company in the world. As a multinational oil company (“oil major”), BP is the UK’s largest corporation, with its headquarters in St James’s, City of Westminster, London. BP America’s headquarters is in the One Westlake Park in the Energy Corridor area of Houston, Texas. The company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, and one of the six “supermajors” (vertically integrated private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum product marketing companies). The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

BP is in the energy sector, something the world always needs. I figured that it would never go bankrupt, like Lehman Brothers. If the US or Israel were to attack Iran, I thought the price of oil would go up and BP’s stock would be worth more. BP is a blue-chip stock that many people diversify with. It pays a dividend. BP has headquarters in Texas, where I live. Plus, I just like the initials “B.P.” for some reason.

From the website Liberty and Pride on June 9th:

Rosie O’Donnell Calls For Communism
Washed up actress, television talk show host, radio show host, and delusional lunatic, Rosie O’Donnell called for the government to seize BP’s assets and take over the company, saying:

“Seize their assets today. Take over the country, I don’t care. Issue and executive order. Say BP guess what…call it socialism, call it communism, call it anything you want. Lets watch Rush Limbaugh explode…on TV when he talks….SEIZE THE ASSETS, take over BP.”

Hey, Rosie, you’re a danger to America. Why don’t we seize your assets?

Nationalize BP? What do I (and millions of others) get out of it? Nothing?

It’s not even clear if the disaster is entirely BP’s fault. Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton also had roles.

The sad thing is, if Obama’s Wall Street “reforms” are passed, federal authorities will have the power to seize any company–not just banks. So maybe BP could be nationalized. Welcome to hope and change in America.

it’s easy to dismiss Rosie O’Donnell as a lunatic, but there are far to many people who believe as she does.

Is there anything that Alex Jones does NOT see as a “false flag” operation? From InfoWars.com:

Evidence Points To BP Oil Spill False Flag
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Tuesday, Jun 8th, 2010
– Sales of shares and stocks in days and weeks beforehand

– Halliburton link, acquisition of cleanup company days before explosion

– BP report cites undocumented tampering with well sealing equipment

– Government uses disaster to push for Carbon Tax, Nationalization talk

Must everything be a conspiracy? Does anyone believe that BP or Obama or anyone purposely planned this disaster?

Let’s look at the sale of BP shares. From the London Telegraph:

BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill
The chief executive of BP sold £1.4 million of his shares in the fuel giant weeks before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused its value to collapse.
By Jon Swaine and Robert Winnett
Published: 12:10AM BST 05 Jun 2010
Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one month before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an environmental disaster.

Mr Hayward, whose pay package is £4 million a year, then paid off the mortgage on his family’s mansion in Kent, which is estimated to be valued at more than £1.2 million.

There is no suggestion that he acted improperly or had prior knowledge that the company was to face the biggest setback in its history.

Hayward still has millions more of BP shares. Call me gullible, but I just don’t believe that he planned a disaster and sold in advance.

More Alex Jones:

Goldman Sachs dumped 44% of its shares in BP Oil during the first quarter – shares that subsequently lost 36 percent of their value, equating to $96 million.

What of it? Maybe GS believed that the price of oil would go down.

The Halliburton link–what of it? Does anyone believe that Halliburton screwed up, and on purpose?

More Alex Jones:

All of which has been capitalized on by the Obama administration to reinvigorate talk of a carbon tax and has created the opportunity to reintroduce the idea of nationalizing oil, which the Democratic leadership has long sought.

Yes, they’re taking advantage of a crisis by promoting legislation to make things worse. But I just don’t believe that Obama purposely did this–to make himself look bad?

I don’t see any evidence at all of a “false flag” operation. I do see plenty of mistakes all around (BP, Halliburton, government).

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

BP Should Resist Slashing Dividend
With a presidential boot taking aim at his rear end, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward is being told to throw a punch of his own—straight to the guts of shareholders.

Following Tuesday’s letter signed by 31 members of Congress calling for BP to suspend dividends, the company’s stock, yielding 11%, now appears priced for a deep cut. Yet there are good reasons why BP should resist these demands, at least for now. The consensus estimate for BP’s operating cash flow this year is $34 billion. Capital expenditure and acquisitions swallow $28 billion and dividends another $10.5 billion, leaving a deficit of $4.5 billion. Even then, year-end net debt would be about $31 billion, equating to 22% of total capitalization.
Politicians also should ask themselves what a dividend cut would really achieve. Right now, the fading hope it will remain untouched is all that stands in the way of yet another sharp correction in BP’s share price. Few will weep for shareholders. But that has real effects in terms of BP’s ability to fund its operations, which are ultimately the bedrock on which expected payouts related to the leak rest.

Politicians have a right to be angry, but trying to set BP’s dividend policy looks both unnecessary and possibly counterproductive. BP, in turn, must ask itself what it would gain by giving ground on this score. In today’s heated climate, it isn’t clear a purely symbolic cut would buy much in the way of political benefit. Indeed, it might merely encourage demands for more.

— Liam Denning

Few will weep for the shareholders. You got that right. From a comment:

Arnold A. Buehler wrote:
Finally, some sane thinking on Wall Street. Thank you.

If BP is forced to cut the dividend, then all of Congress and their regulators should go with out their pay.

Who are the lawmakers who wrote to BP to eliminate the dividend? It looks like they’re Democrats. From Business Week:

U.S. Lawmakers Say BP Should Suspend Dividends, Ads (Update2)
June 09, 2010, 4:02 PM EDT
By Jeff Plungis and Christopher Condon
“Not a single cent” should be spent on television ads, said Representative Lois Capps, a California Democrat, at a news conference in Washington. “If BP is so concerned about its public image, it should plug the hole.”
Capps and Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, were among more than 40 lawmakers who signed a letter to BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward asking the company to suspend dividends. Democratic senators such as Charles Schumer of New York and Ron Wyden of Oregon on June 2 called for the dividend to be halted.

Let’s get this straight. Members of Congress are dictating the dividend policy of a private company? BP–a private company– can’t spend a single cent on advertising (defending its position to the public) because of Congresswoman says so?

A lot of irresponsible statements have been made.

The oil companies shouldn’t be nationalized. This disaster shouldn’t mean that drilling must be stopped (further hurting Gulf Region employment), or that Cap & Trade is a good thing. Congress–which can’t even balance a budget–should not be running BP. And BP’s CEO and Goldman Sachs didn’t sell their shares knowing this disaster would happen.

Plus the hole first. Have an investigation as to what company or companies are liable.

Responsible leadership and common sense seem to be lacking all around.