Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Obama Tells BP Exec To Take His Job And Shove It -- Oops Or Ouch?

The president of the United States says he would have fired the chief executive of the world's fourth most profitable corporation if he worked for him.

Ouch. With that assertion on NBC's Today show, President Obama has stepped into the metaphoric bloviating of infamous responses such as President Coolidge saying "The business of America is business," and  the dollar-a-year Defense Secretary who claimed "What's good for General Motors is good for America."

"He wouldn't be working for me after any of those statements," Obama told interviewer Matt Lauer.

"He" is BP CEO Tony Hayward and his statements following the April 20 explosion that killed 11 employees on the Deepwater Horizons oil platform and spilling millions of gallons of gas and Louisiana crude into the Gulf of Mexico in the worst environmental accident in U.S. history were what I called in a post on Sunday as "jumping the shark."

Obama said he has not talked to Hayward. "Here's the reason. Because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's gonna say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words. I'm interested in actions."

The president said he prefers talking with experts who are his only hope of plugging the leak and fishermen who have seen their livelihood destroyed.

"I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar," the president added. "We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."
"When you watch television or you go down to the Gulf and you see birds covered in oil, and you talk to fishermen who are on the verge of tears, big tough guys ... their livelihoods are being smothered by this oil, it gets you frustrated," he told Lauer. 

With his bravado statements, Obama is not tip-toeing but high-diving into a PR tug of war of whom to blame. He has said BP's advertising blitz "is unacceptable" yet he is using his bully pulpit as commander-in-chief to paint a happy face on the government's response.
Both are losing that public opinion battle. In some ways, BP has the government by the short hairs because it they and they alone with the engineering skills to plug the leak and that only by drilling relief wells two miles deep which will take until August at best and possibly to -- horror of horrors -- into the November midterm elections depending on how much work stoppage will result from the summer season's tropical storms and hurricanes.

Obama admits he is frustrated as is the entire nation whose mental condition is always programed for instant results which just ain't gonna happen in this horror flick.

So it comes down to goofy statements of the president blustering he would can the BP executive whose underlings definitely would prefer to muzzle for assinine comments that he "wants my life back" and the Gulf was "a big ocean," and "the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest." 

Upon further review, what good what it do to fire Hayward? BP's record is criminally systemic, top to bottom, with even its field employees turning to whistle blowers.

"They are a recurring environmental criminal and they do not follow U.S. health safety and environmental policy," said Jeanne Pascal, a former EPA lawyer who led its BP investigations commissioned by Pro Publica, a non-profit journalism organization, as reported in Tuesday's Washington Post.

In 1999, BP pleaded guilty to illegal dumping at an offshore drilling field in Alaska, the article reported. To avoid a contract cancellation with the federal government, the company agreed to a five-year probationary plan with the EPA.
Less than a year later, employees complained to an independent arbitrator that the company was letting equipment and critical safety systems languish at its Greater Prudhoe Bay drilling field, the article said.
BP hired independent experts to investigate and they identified systemic problems in maintenance and inspections and warned BP that it faced a "fundamental culture of mistrust" by its workers.
The experts' report said that "unacceptable" maintenance backlogs ballooned as BP tried to sustain profits despite declining production, the ProPublica article said. 
BP also was convicted of safety violations and fined a half-day's profits in a refinery fire in Texas City that killed 15 employees March 25, 2005..

Also Tuesday, the International Energy Agency said it was downsizing its estimates for oil production by half in the Gulf of Mexico to 300,000 barrels per day by 2015 because of moratoriums and tighter regulations it believes the Obama administration will place on the industry.

The 30,000 oil wells in the Gulf produce about 2% of oil consumed by the United States, according to industry estimates.
If the president wants to "kick ass," forget the BP CEO. Save it to kick butt on the BP pathetic effort to stop the oil spill reaching the shoreline with collecting booms that don't work, are unmanned, and chemical dispersants which are so toxic their effects on human and sea life will endure for generations.

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