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BP’s Mr. Sunshine

Posted on Jun 3, 2010

By Eugene Robinson

How is it possible that BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward hasn’t been fired? At this point, how can anyone believe a word the man says? If he told me my mother loves me, I’d want a second source.

Hayward has apologized for his one lapse of candor—the now-famous whine last Sunday that “I’d like my life back.” It must be a nice life indeed: According to Forbes, Hayward’s total compensation from BP in 2009 was about $4.6 million. The Louisiana fishermen who’ve been put out of work by the oil spill are accustomed to getting by on considerably less. In a Facebook posting, Hayward said his callous words “don’t represent how I feel about this tragedy, and certainly don’t represent the hearts of the people of BP.”

Within hours, though, Hayward’s foot was firmly lodged in his mouth yet again. The effort to contain the oil and keep it away from the Gulf Coast has been “very successful,” he told the Financial Times. “Considering how big this has been, very little has got away from us.”

This sunny assessment came as television networks broadcast images of oil-soaked Louisiana marshes, where hazmat-suited workers—who said they were under orders from BP not to talk to the media, on pain of getting fired—were trying to sop up the mess with what looked like rags, as if this were a gargantuan kitchen mishap. Meanwhile, mousse-like clumps of “weathered” oil were being washed onto beaches in Alabama, and authorities in Florida were watching the approach of a menacing, oily sheen. Scientists have not even begun to assess the potential long-term effects of the oil spill on human health, marine life and coastal ecology. Carol Browner, the president’s chief adviser on energy and the environment, said that the Deepwater Horizon incident is already the worst environmental disaster in United States history.

Give yourself another pat on the back, Tony.


Square, Site wide

Adm. Thad Allen, who is directing the response effort, is a nice guy—in terms of his public handling of BP, too nice. On Thursday, as BP proceeded with its latest attempt to cap the flow, Allen praised the company for providing several different camera views of the action on the sea floor. But for weeks, BP refused to make public any television images of the oil leak, and relented only under pressure from U.S. officials.

Hayward’s statements about the effort to plug the well have been consistently unreliable, and it hardly matters whether he’s being deliberately misleading or just overly optimistic. The giant containment dome was going to work; it didn’t. The second, much smaller containment dome would do the job; it was never even deployed. The “top kill” procedure was surely going to stop the flow, and early indications, according to Hayward, showed it was succeeding. Yet oil industry veterans such as T. Boone Pickens said the top kill was a long shot at best, and they were right.

And as for those giant underwater oil plumes that scientists and journalists keep discovering? Hayward denies they exist. His position is that of a philanderer caught in the act by an irate spouse: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Since the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig six weeks ago, BP’s stock has lost more than a third of its value. Two ratings firms, Fitch and Moody’s, have downgraded the company’s long-term debt, and estimates of what it will finally cost BP to stop the leak and clean up its mess range from $3 billion to $30 billion. All this happened on Hayward’s watch.

Somebody, please, give the man his life back.

But once that’s done, let’s turn our ire on the real villains. This exercise will require a mirror.

An accident like the Deepwater Horizon blowout was bound to happen sooner or later. There are nearly 4,000 oil rigs off the Gulf Coast, and those pumping most of the crude are in deep waters—where, as we now know, state-of-the-art safety procedures are inadequate. President Barack Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling will last only long enough for some sort of technological Band-Aid to be devised. Then we’ll crank up the drills once again.

We know that our dependence on oil is ultimately ruinous, yet we refuse to take measures—a meaningful carbon tax, for example—to ease it. Long after Tony Hayward answers for his sins, we’ll be paying for our own.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

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By Tobysgirl, June 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Ian, I haven’t heard anything about Goldman Sachs, but I did hear Hayward dumped a sizable percentage of his BP shares a few weeks before the disaster.

Gerard, thank you for your sensible words.

I am of two minds about ordinary people. I live in a rural area and I have been amazed for a long time at the reckless usage of petroleum. I used to call my neighbors the Petrol Burners because their consumption seemed about equivalent to the energy needs of 10,000 people elsewhere in the world.

People, even poor people, have ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, gas guzzlers, and seem to think nothing of it. I have no problem with using ATVs for practical purposes (there are a few), but recreational use of petroleum is bizarre when you can walk, ski, canoe. The T-shirt may be a joke, but it really did seem that we couldn’t understand what Iraq was doing sitting on top of OUR oil.

I don’t blame even the energy hogs for BP’s recklessness. What I do hold them responsible for is their deafening scream of “LESS REGULATION!”; this screech is being heard constantly in our current gubernatorial primary. Louisiana looks like a business-friendly state (“We needs to be business friendly!”); I wish the idiots who want to allow corporations complete freedom to destroy everything would move there. But, oh no, there’s black people!

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By G.Anderson, June 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

Of course he’s happy, because he knows he owns this country, and the politicians.

And nothing is going to happen, except, he will make more and more money everyday…

So what if some fisherman can’t raise shrimp anymore, he doesn’t really care…He’s here to remind you who owns this country, and it’s not you..

and soon Drilling in the gulf will resume…

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By Craig2, June 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

BP’s CEO Tony “It’s A Tiny Thing” Hayward must lie. BP’s very vulnerable with huge liabilities. He must cloud the waters (pun intended) now to avoid future penalties. It’s odd that BP wants to claim all the oil, but will not account for how much there is. In the Niger Delta BP shoots citizens who collect spilled oil in the waterways. It’s BP’s oil!

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By hidflect, June 6, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

I’m sick and tired of this “look-in-the-mirror” meme. In an attempt to be counter-intuitive and all too clever, journalists are just straight out bullsh*tting. I didn’t ask to be born into this economy. But from the moment I was born wherever I dropped there was a landlord with his hand outstretched demanding payment in dollars of a sum that could only be covered by participation in the petro-economy. No-one came up to me and offered an alternative, idyllic, rustic life as alternative. If I wandered off into the woods with an axe and a will to start my own life I’d be arrested. I haven’t driven a car in 10 years and I live in a tiny dogbox with energy saving neon strip lights (thanks, Japan). This hasn’t prevented the uber-wealthy buying ocean-going yachts or buying their own fleet of jets. Stop trying to lay this on the small guy, OK?

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By firefly, June 5, 2010 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

The absolute hysteria over BP amazes me.

1. Have people in the US only just woken up to what
the oil industry is?

Didn’t they know?

Did they think that the oil industry (the cause of
climate change, the cause of government corruption,
the cause of war) is honest?

The Republican Party under Bush WAS the oil industry,
Obama is OWNED by the oil industry, the rest of the
world is held hostage to the oil industry.  BP is by
no means the only criminal. So much focus is being
paid to just one member of the gang, that the rest
are quietly continuing ‘business as usual’.

2. The American people have a lot to account for.
Their addiction to oil and the ‘good life’ it has
given them, has allowed these criminals to become
ever more powerful by the day.

And boycotting BP is pointless. When they go bust,
who is going to pay for all the damage? You are!

And who are you going to buy oil from instead? Exxon
Mobile? The most evil of them all. Chevron? Another
evil oil tyrant? Shell? Who has done 100 times the
damage that BP has in the Niger Delta where the west
just don’t give a dmn.

Obama is completely right to tell BP “you broke it,
you fix it!”  But now is the time, that ALL oil
should come under scrutiny. Now is the time, to hold
all oil accountable for the death and destruction
they cause all over the world. And now is the time,
when WE should start demanding alternative energy

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By Ian, June 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has truthdig presented any articles about Goldman Sachs
selling holdings directly related to BP and offshore
drilling companies a couple weeks before these events.
I would be interested to see some internal memos as to
why they sold when they did.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 5, 2010 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Friar Tux Yeah, I want to take over the Mideast, because I have a fetish for sand, dates and camels. Just like the people of Iran want to take over the USA and the people of North Korea want to take over South Korea. 

Damn people taking over everything, glad they have dupes to do just what the peoples want!

How do we really know we want to take over the Mid East? I am too fat to put down my camel burger and date sandwich to know anything?

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, June 5, 2010 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Fired? How come this criminal isn’t behind bars along with co-conspirator Admiral
Hee Haw. President Obama is letting America and the entire world down by leaving
these two clowns in charge. Lock them up now and put someone in charge that
knows what they’re doing.

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By icarus, June 5, 2010 at 2:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bhopal is the only thing the US needs to remember before it starts throwing rocks.

The Bhopal disaster was an industrial catastrophe that occurred at a pesticide plant owned and operated by Union Carbide (UCIL) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. Around midnight on the intervening night of December 2–3, 1984, the plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people. Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release.[1]  Other government agencies estimate 15,000 deaths.[2]  Others estimate that 8,000 died within the first weeks and that another 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.[3][4]

Some 25 years after the gas leak, 390 tons of toxic chemicals abandoned at the UCIL plant continue to leak and pollute the groundwater in the region and affect thousands of Bhopal residents who depend on it,[5][6][7] though there is some dispute as to whether the chemicals still stored at the site pose any continuing health hazard.[2] There are currently civil and criminal cases related to the disaster ongoing in the United States District Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India against Union Carbide,[8] now owned by Dow Chemical Company, with an Indian arrest warrant pending against Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster.[9][10] No one has yet been prosecuted.

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By Friar Tux, June 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does anyone really think BP did this on purpose?

The American people are all worked up because all of a sudden their addiction is fouling up their pretty white beaches.

Well “Americans” have had since the early ‘70’s to do *Something* *Anything* but they elected whores and idiots and kept running the bucket into the well.

Look at yourselves, Fat Gluttons. Put down the Zanax and elect somebody *anybody* that might just think ahead of next quarter.

We know you’d rather take over the mid east. Wouldn’t you. $37 more billion you’re about to borrow (!) lol and it doesn’t even get 5 minutes of talking head.

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By willymack, June 4, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Howizit Hayward hasn’t been fired?
How is it he isn’t in JAIL?
Those were rhetorical questions.
By now it should be obvious to anyone with a brain that corporate scumbags own Congress, the Senate, and therefore, US.
Said corporate scumbags can do anything they please and get away with it.
How’s that prosecution of the bush crime family coming along, for instance?

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By tropicgirl, June 4, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

And as far as THE OWNERSHIP OF BP…. Its the filthy QUEEN of England.

The Queen of England is about as “royal” as the theiving, murdering Borgias of
the Italian Renaissance, The Borgias have been accused of many different
crimes, generally on considerable evidence, including adultery, simony, theft,
rape, bribery, incest, and murder (especially murder by poison). THIS IS WHERE
THE QUEEN COMES FROM. That is exactly what her scene is, Diane et al.
Depraved, sickly, mentally ill, murdering, theiving, land and resource-stealing

So lets take the “Queen” by her ugly murdering head and mop up the oil with it.

Or better yet… lets get the slaves of England, the British people, the drugged,
stupid, cowardly, dirty food eating, spying, pathetic slaves of England, and
make them clean it up. They really are a rancid bunch.

Or even better, let the oil eventually find its way to that filth-pot known as

Commere Queenie, I got somethin for ya!

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By gerard, June 4, 2010 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

What nonsense TD can pull out with these very serious articles demanding intelligent attention and action!  Like Americans love nothing so much as fantasy, and if they can’t find it, they make it up.
  Furthermore, conspiracy is definitely “in.” Though the facts may be obvious and clear, it is much more interesting to entertain secret goings-on behind the scenes.  Skullduggery tops cause and effect and disasters like BP can be easily mis-classified in order to avoid facing the fact that we should not be misseing around with deep sea oil drilling because it involves dangerous risks.  Not enough is known about the powerful geology of the ocean several miles below the surface, let alone the earth’s fiery core and the shell surrounding it.
  It’s a human failing not to admit ignorance, and history is littered with the resulting disasters.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, June 4, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

Folk who call themselves “jewish” are able to define the term to their
own satisfaction, which rarely agrees with recorded history.  When
one traces the lineage of the UK “royal family,” and other constituents
of the Bildergerger clan, the same tribe is identified. Nor was the
tribe called “jews.”

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By tropicgirl, June 4, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The people of the Gulf need to decide IF THEY WANT A FISHING INDUSTRY OR A

Do you want to preserve jobs for the fishermen or for the oil drillers?

If you are stupid enough to listen to Jindal, a total shill for the oil companies,
you would be told that you MUST support the oil jobs OVER the fishing jobs.

Smarten up people of the Gulf and Lousianna. You CANT HAVE BOTH. If you
think so, then you WILL LOSE YOUR LIVELIHOOD, and perhaps that is what the
oil people really want, stupids! Not to have to worry about you anymore getting

The ONLY person EVER to negotiate a deal with the oil companies to benefit
the local people is Sara Palin.

There is NO SUCH THING AS AMERICAN OIL. The oil companies and the
government have the American people convinced to give up their local
resources FOR FREE (lease money does not go to the local people) when ALL OIL
the practice of all world corporations. West Virginia gives up their coal for free,
Florida gives up their sand for free, and other countries, AFrica gives their
diamonds for free and so on… Thats your “World Trade” for ya.

Stop being so dumb and believing the likes of Jindal. WAKE UPPPPPPPP!

And as far as THE OWNERSHIP OF BP…. Its the filthy QUEEN of England. drbhelthi is absolutely right.

The Queen of England is about as “royal” as the theiving, murdering Borgias of
the Italian Renaissance, The Borgias have been accused of many different
crimes, generally on considerable evidence, including adultery, simony, theft,
rape, bribery, incest, and murder (especially murder by poison). THIS IS WHERE

So lets take the “Queen” by her ugly murdering head and mop up the oil with it.

Or better yet… lets get the slaves of England, the British people, the drugged,
stupid, cowardly, pathetic slaves of England, and make them clean it up. They
really are a rancid bunch.

Or even better, let the oil eventually find its way to that filth-pot known as

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 4, 2010 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

drbhelthi, no it is always the Zionists not the rich English, unless one can just say they are Jewish!

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By balkas, June 4, 2010 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Blaiming an ind’l or even a corp’n is an ancient ruse.
It is used today with a purpose in mind: deceive the pop!

It is the system, the structure of society, structure of governnance-constitution that one needs to study in order to obtain knowledge.

The correct structure of society and governance wld not cause such oil spills, wars, exploitaion, lying or division of people into A, B, C, D, E, or F classes of people.

Imo, dividing people in sharply-differentiated classes is the root cause of all evil.
But according to clerico-plutocratic people, it s alwas tom, dick, and harry’s misbehaviors that cause all the ills that befall us on interpersonal or int’l levels.
While setting selves up as the guardians against individual ‘hoodlums’. Well, why not ‘teach’ that?
It had worked for at least 8 k yrs in all asocialistic or meritocratic societies.

According to them sick people are not sick, they are lazy-immoral-want s’mthing for nothing. People are not born with fewer skills; they just love to be stupid and not as capable as others.
But it works! Why not use it? tnx

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By mmadden, June 4, 2010 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

Hayward reminds of the Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf that kept making stuff up to mislead the citizens about how bad it really was when the tanks were rolling into town. He was hilarious. Unfortunately Hayward is not as funny.

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Gloria Picchetti's avatar

By Gloria Picchetti, June 4, 2010 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

Hayward is probably getting a bonus to stay where he is. Why put another person in the spotlight while Hayward is doing such a good job of playing dumb?

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, June 4, 2010 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

Talk about “Amerikanski” naivete´ !
Russian scientists predict the British Petroleum (owned by the
british queen + other members of the Bilderberger group) oil spill,
with alleged chemical dispersants, could poison millions, ruin the
USA and North American continent. 

Recently revealed info by a UK lawyer suggests that Princess Diana
was assassinated, to prevent her from publicizing a list of rich
British prominents, who own the land-mine industry. Just after the
KOSOVO debacle, it was reported that the “british queen” owned
approximately 70% of land-mine-industry stock.  Once Diana
publicized the many children injured and killed by land-mines, the
“queen” disposed about one-half of her land-mine stock.

Considering that GHWBushJr (google: NAZI family Bush) invited
“prince Charles” to review the damage to New Orleans, squiring
“prince Charles” around for a couple of days.  This occurred after
the damage had been done.  Locals reported that groups of men in
black uniforms sabotaged the dikes in two locations, as Katrina was
blowing through.  Available information raises the question,
WHY ? 
How was the “queen” and allegedly “royal” family of Great Britain
associated with the New Orleans disaster, the blow-up of two
locations in the dike, and the cover-up of the US Corps of Engineers
faux pas ? 

Considering the available information, one tends to logically draw
the “sour grapes” conclusion, that if the “crown of Great Britain”
could not re-acquire the United States, it would undertake methods
to simply ruin it. 

The (intentional ?) destruction of the illegal BP platform in the Gulf
of Mexico adds substance to the “sour grapes” idea.  Especially,
when considering who owns BP, the tremendous scientific research
required to locate the high-pressure-oil-artery ONE MILE deep in
the ocean, erect the platform, drill into the high-pressure oil-
artery, and then intentionally destroy the platform. 

It was a long-term project that required top-level,
geo-physical research, locating, then tapping into
the high-pressure, oil-artery that mankind does not
know how to plug up.  The American and
foreign-born “pawns” who were involved in the
entire fraud ?  Even Judas repented and committed
NAZIs, israeli-dictator types and pimps are not
distinguished by valiant behavior.  Their trade-mark
is deceit, fraud, murder and cowardice.

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By Leefeller, June 4, 2010 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

If this is ever really over or when they say it is over, they will give the CEO a nice bonus for not letting this oil spill thing get worse, everyone knows CEO’s are responsible for their employees actions and what happens on their watch just like politicians.

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