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Why couldn't this happen?

Why are we letting BP screw the people of the Gulf? I'm fed up with the stories of how BP is forcing the American people into slave labor to "appear" to be cleaning up the Gulf.

I'm fed up with BP forcing American workers to stay silent about working conditions.

I'm fed up with BP not paying what they owe American workers.

Why is this okay? Why can't we do something about it?

I am no expert on creating jobs. I barely have one myself. But I have been watching and listening to the endless reports of how the people of the Gulf are being exploited by BP on top of what BP has done to their lives.

I imagine a fisherman who cannot make his mortgage payment and has no choice but to go to work for BP to feed his family.

Once he signs on, this fisherman has to take a vow of silence to never talk about what he does. To never talk about his failed effort to get a respirator. To never talk about his working conditions, or what he is seeing as he works.

If he does, he loses his job. The only possibility of income to feed his family.

Isn't this blackmail? Don't we have labor laws in this country? Don't we have OSHA? Have we just handed over a portion of our country to BP? Why don't our labor laws apply to the Gulf anymore?

There are way more-informed Kossacks here than me on this. But I am totally confused about why this is okay in the United States of America. Will someone explain this to me?

Just yesterday I met "Elmer" a BP insider who talked to Mother Jones: My BP Mole Spills the Secrets of BP's Cleanup Ops Take a look at what "Elmer" had to say:

BP's got good reason for wanting to keep insiders like Elmer away from reporters. Elmer says that last Thursday, when the Coast Guard was announcing that the top kill seemed to be working, the cleanup supervisors on Grand Isle had already been informed it was a failure—which, of course, was not publicly announced until several days later.

And as more and more oil continues to deluge Louisiana shores, the cleanup efforts are slowing down. Workers have spent inordinate amounts of time sitting around waiting to be utilized, a frustration echoed by other workers who talked to friends of mine who were on a day trip to the beach. The workers are also upset because last Friday, many of them weren't paid as scheduled. According to Elmer, the mostly white foremen (whom he welcomed me to picture as stereotypical gristly union-boss types) told their mostly black subordinates that they didn't want to hear any bitching about it and that if they had a problem they could go home. Such unpleasant work in such an unpleasant environment and for such low pay (as little as $10 an hour) is, not surprisingly, leading to superhigh attrition. Last week, there were 110 workers on Elmer's Island. Right now, there are only 60 cleaning up the 1,700-acre home to fish, shrimp, and crab nurseries. (I called ES&H, the subcontractor running the cleanup show, for comment, but it only has one person who talks to the media, and that person was not available today.)

Good for Elmer. He spoke out. We need more of this.

And while the country laments the jobs report and mourns the death of the Gulf, why isn't the administration considering beginning an Americorps program in the Gulf? I know I am way over-simplifying things, but why couldn't BP be put into receivership and its money be used to create REAL jobs for those in the Gulf to help clean this up under UNITED STATES OF AMERICA LABOR LAWS?

"When you choose to serve -- whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood -- you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."
As the new administration takes shape, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will call on Americans from every walk of life to serve. President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps and will create new service organizations to meet the nation's challenges head on:

*Classroom Corps to help underserved schools
*Health Corps to serve in the nation's clinics and hospitals * Clean Energy Corps to achieve the goal of energy independence
a*Veterans Corps to support the Americans who serve by standing in harm's way.

Obama and Biden will call on citizens of all ages to serve. They'll set a goal that all middle school and high school students engage in 50 hours of community service a year, and develop a plan for all college students who engage in 100 hours of community service to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education. Obama and Biden will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

The Obama-Biden administration's volunteer initiatives are still taking shape, but take a moment now to let us know that you're interested, and we'll keep you posted on all the latest developments.

Why can't we develop something like this for the Gulf? Is it something worth considering?

At the link President-Elect Obama asked us to let him know if we were interested in serving the nation -  and contributing energy and efforts to confronting the problems we face together.

I don't know if anyone looks at the site anymore, but maybe we can all ask the administration to consider Americorps jobs for the Gulf, using BP's money to pay the workers.

(Geez, how will the GOP like that? Frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn.)

Originally posted to the girl on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 08:13 AM PDT.

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