Shakedown of Tony Hayward

What a putz. Actually, what a couple of putzes…

It’s hard to imagine anyone having a worse day than Tony Hayward, BP’s embattled chief executive, who spent Thursday in the cross hairs of an angry Congressional committee and turned in a mind-bogglingly vapid performance. But he got a run for his money from Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, who inexplicably decided to call the escrow account agreed to by BP and the White House a “$20 billion shakedown.”

If Mr. Barton was trying to be supportive of Mr. Hayward, who looked like he had not slept in weeks, he failed. Mr. Hayward delivered an opening statement full of contrition for the immense damage his company has done. He then faced Henry Waxman and other veteran interrogators armed with truckloads of documents suggesting that BP had behaved sloppily at best and at worst sidestepped safety precautions to save money.

Mr. Hayward insisted that he had never heard of any problems in drilling and completing the well that is now spouting 60,000 barrels of oil a day. He further confessed that he did not even know his company was drilling the doomed well until the day it hit oil.

Silence is Clarity -oil

(click to continue reading Editorial – A Bad Day for BP and Mr. Barton –

Thought exercise: Barney Frank makes a criticism of a decision George Bush makes, takes the side of a foreign corporation, say Royal Bank of Scotland. Can you imagine the media storm? Exactly, the Fox News chattering heads would be yelling for Barney Frank to renounce his citizenship and move. But Joe Barton (R, Idiot) is still the ranking GOP member on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Go figure.

From Reuters:

Republican Joe Barton, who accused the White House Thursday of a $20 billion “shakedown” of BP, is the biggest recipient of oil and gas money in the House of Representatives. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee charged with grilling BP CEO Tony Hayward Thursday has collected more than $4.2 million in political contributions from the oil and gas industry.

The 60-year-old Texas lawmaker, who later apologized for using the word “shakedown,” has collected at least $1.7 million in political contributions from oil and gas interests over the past two decades, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Barton, a former oil company consultant, used his seat on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to apologize to BP CEO Tony Hayward and castigate the White House for pressing BP to finance a $20 billion fund for damage claims from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

From OpenSecrets:

Barton’s biggest single corporate contributor, Anadarko Petroleum, is a 25 percent stakeholder in the Macondo Prospect, site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Individuals and PACs associated with Anadarko have given Barton’s campaigns $146,500 since the 1990 election

Other GOP want to get their time in the spotlight too

It isn’t just Barton. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) called the $20 billion escrow account a “redistribution of wealth fund.” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga) accused the Obama administration of “Chicago-style shakedown politics.”

Sarah Palin has gone so far as to suggest that the real fault for the catastrophe in the gulf lies with the environmental movement.

On June 1, the former Alaska governor and former vice presidential nominee sent this message out on Twitter: “Extreme Greenies: see now why we push ‘drill, baby, drill’ of known reserves & promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR [the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Refuge]? Now do you get it?”

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