I've heard a lot of evasive non-responses in my time liveblogging. We've had Condi's "no one could have predicted" and Albertorquemada's "I don't recall." Good times! My all-time favorite, though, still has to be "I am not a lawyer" from the
Blackwater Xe hearings with Erik Prince. But Hayward's stock answer from yesterday's hearings has to take the cake.
"I am deeply sorry," he said.
"Devastated," he said.
"I’m not a cement engineer, I’m afraid," he said.
"I was not part of that decision-making process," he said.
Pray tell, Mr. Hayward, just what does a BP Chief Executive Officer do exactly? I mean, I get it; CEOs are the big picture guys and nobody expects them to micromanage every technical project detail. But for the love of all that doesn't suck, how blind/incompetent/god-forsakenly stupid do you have to be as a CEO to, apparently, be the last to know about numerous problems with Deepwater Horizon before it and the Macondo exploded.
While no one expects a CEO to know every applicable principle of physics, they are expected to run competent organizations. And one would imagine with everything on the line regarding a project like the Macondo, competence would be given more than lip service; what kind of CEO in his/her right mind wouldn't do anything to avoid this scenario? Apparently, safety standards and thoroughness are but trifling details in Tony Hayward's world, a very special place in which the buck stops nowhere, his life has somehow been ruined and failure to adhere to industry standards and best practices in no way amounts to negligence or incompetence on the part of BP.
In response to question after question, Hayward calmly insisted that he did not know what motivated key decisions about the blown-out well's design, frustrating House members who complained that his answers were evasive and overly legalistic - as if drafted by lawyers mindful of the flood of negligence lawsuits facing the company.
..."I'm not stonewalling," Hayward responded, over the clicking of cameras documenting his inaugural Capitol Hill testimony. "I simply was not involved in the decision-making process."
Internal BP documents unearthed by congressional investigators show what lawmakers describe as a series of risky, time-saving decisions in the days leading up to the April 20 blowout of BP's Macondo well in mile-deep water.
Some of the moves bucked an industry group's standards and, taken together, indicate BP chose "expediency over safety," said Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.
For example, BP decided to use fewer than the recommended number of centralizers for pouring the cement column. If the documents cited by Rep. Green are accurate, a BP official had this to say about that decision: "Who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine." Yet in Hayward's world, there was no indication of reckless behavior. No sir, nothing reckless about tanking your company's stock, prospects and reputation! It's only, like, the trifecta of fail, no biggie.
Citing a five-year string of accidents and deadly disasters at BP-operated facilities, Representative Bart Stupak suggested the poor safety record could justify banning the London-based company from doing business in the U.S.
...In his testimony yesterday, Hayward not only failed to convince lawmakers he was committed to making BP safer, he may have deepened suspicion of the company by repeatedly pleading ignorance to events that took place under his command, said Matt Eventoff, a partner at New Jersey communications firm, Princeton Public Speaking.
"Mr. Hayward’s comments today, saying ‘I don’t know’ 66 times, evaporated any feeling of responsibility," Eventoff said. "Any goodwill that the company bought back yesterday eroded today with his testimony."
...Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, told Hayward he and other committee members were "extremely frustrated with your lack of candor and inability to answer questions."
...According to a transcript of his testimony, Hayward said at least 23 times he was not involved in decisions.
To be fair, the details of what BP did or didn't do really are no more or less reckless than the continued dependence on fossil fuels itself; there's no smart way to do a stupid thing, after all. But BP is just another data point in the much larger problem of energy consumption and demand. Fossil fuel extraction is a dying industry with a dwindling resource base, so let's throw it an anchor!
Much has been written about what this oil spill represents, what it should affect in terms of policy, it's a seminal moment to redefine national energy plans, etc. And that's all true, but it all starts with us; and no, I don't mean let's all don our cardigans and use that extra blanket in the bed at night, although those are lovely ideas. I mean right here at dkos and on what we choose to focus.
I vote we focus on solutions, because what else is ever going to change anything? The climate/energy bill is being worked through Congress now, RLMiller and others have been writing some really great breakdowns on the skinny there. There's been a phenomenal amount of action diaries on whales and other sea life that needs help. We've got alternative energy round-ups and the new eKos library. There is action we can take on regulating natural gas. And it's candidate season.
So, what say, kossacks? Care to join me in an effort to start the mad reccing of action, eco and/or candidate diaries? Say, from now until November and/or we're energy sane? Yeah, daily kos is "just a website," but it really can do a lot when we set our minds to it and part of that is what we rec. Reporting on stuff is great, but not using this site to its utmost utility is kind of like driving the Lamborghini to the corner store. To me, getting the most out of this site -- and crisis -- entails driving the narrative towards getting us out of this oilbroglio. Don't get me wrong; accountability is a wonderful thing, but it's not a solution and it's not forward-looking. Change isn't what happens while you're busy making other plans; that's life. Affecting political change is a constant effort, but what choice do we have?