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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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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

    by the girl on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 08:13:44 AM PDT

  •  This is OK in the USA? (4+ / 0-)

    one only needs to look at recent decisions:

    1] Bailing out the banks and automotive industries.

    2] SCOTUS decisions relating to corporate person-hood.

    3] Campaign financing.

    Sorry, but its a bit obvious why.

    Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

    by LaFeminista on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 08:21:25 AM PDT

  •  I just watched a commercial from BP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, the girl

    And Mr. "I want my life back" CEO was sincerely explaining how devestated BP is about the spill and how they are working to contain it with volunteers.

    From Day One, with all the criticism from the right and left that President Obama did nothing, what he did was trust the information he was receiving from authorities at the site.

    And for those who think our president is not showing outrage, then you don't know our president.
    He mentioned his attitude toward anger during an interview.  He said that when he gets angry, he grows silent and calm.  One of those "If looks could kill" guys.

    But I can see how furious and sad he is, and how he is determined to make BP pay.

    This is an excellent idea.  But BP needs to pay.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 08:50:39 AM PDT

    •  Put BP in receivership (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      right now before it gets rid of its assets to itself - and use that money to create jobs in the Gulf.

      I want the President to show his outrage with action.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:11:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  feds can't put BP in receivership (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, mariachi mama, Kickemout

        For the same reason they can't seize any BP assets. To claim assets, or put a company in receivership, takes a great deal of due process. To start that process BP has to refuse, or be unable, to pay claims it owes, or court judgments. At that point the feds could start a process that might include asset seizure or receivership. The federal government has substantial Constitutional restrictions on its ability to seize private property.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:30:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What about RICO? (0+ / 0-)

          And why is Reich proposing receivership then?

          It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped. This is the only way the public know what’s going on, be confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher, ensure BP’s strategy is correct, know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary, and be sure the President is ultimately in charge.

          If the government can take over giant global insurer AIG and the auto giant General Motors and replace their CEOs, in order to keep them financially solvent, it should be able to put BP’s north American operations into temporary receivership in order to stop one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

          More at link. I agree with this. It is the only way to ensure this isn't more of a clusterf*ck than it already is.

          Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

          by the girl on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:35:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Take over of AIG, autos, banks (0+ / 0-)

            The key difference was that those corporations were out of cash and the feds were the investor of last resort. In those situations any investor can take control as part of the agreement to provide the cash. In the current tragedy BP is not asking for any money from the feds, has paid all the bills and continues to state it will continue to pay all the bills. That makes it impossible for the feds to take control of any BP assets, or have any influence on how it manages its cash.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:55:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  FYI. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    Americorps is a fancy word for "exploitation."  I know.  I is Americorps.  

    Okay, in fairness, I can't speak for every Americorps member, but I know a LOT of Americorps members who, while appreciating the importance of the work they did, were extremely frustrated by the way they were treated by their service organizations.

    Compromise on Personnel - Never on Principle. Street Prophets - "Ani Adonai Eloheichem" He says.

    by mkrell on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:14:51 AM PDT

    •  Well, that sucks. (0+ / 0-)

      But something other than what we have now has to be done and it is already a month late in coming.

      Call it Oilcorps. I don't care, but the federal government must seize BP's assets now, before it distributes them to the ceo's and company executives in bonuses or some other nonsense.

      Then use that money to pay the workers after the feds create REAL JOBS in the clean-up.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:18:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  feds can't seize BP's assets now (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There is no legal basis to do so. Until BP fails to pay claims, or a court judgment, the feds have no statutory basis to seize any BP assets.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:24:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  RICO (0+ / 0-)

          and Reich's suggestion of receivership. I don't know the technicalities of it, but every measure to seize the assets now should be taken.

          RICO too, should be implemented.

          What is to prevent BP from paying its executives bonuses this year? I've seen that movie before, and it really sucks.

          Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

          by the girl on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:28:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  RICO is a joke (0+ / 0-)

            I read the Reich's piece. His heart was in the right place, but his legal analysis was faulty. I am not a lawyer, but have several friends who are former DOJ prosecutors and who have used RICO in the past. In discussing this tragedy with them they think that the notion of using RICO is a joke. They also agree that, as long BP keeps paying the bills, the feds civil options are limited.  

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sat Jun 05, 2010 at 09:49:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The core problem is the how OPA is set up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, the girl

    Under OPA responsibility for clean-up and any expenses incurred rests with the offending oil company.

    There is a 3-tiered approach in the contingency plan.

    The Federal Government directs all public and private response to a spill, area committees handle local response and the oil company works to a plan that was approved by that renowned bastion of probity, the MMS.

    The actions of the Administration to this point have taken the path which limits their ownership of the disaster. All which goes wrong is squarely on BP's shoulders.

    If the Feds take over the hiring of clean-up workers then they effectively allow BP of one the leashes to which they are tied. Conversely, if BP maintains the lion's share of clean-up crew hiring and management you will surely continue to see the cloak-and-dagger shielding of the truth from public view, and the poor treatment of workers in other ways you describe.

    Despite all the foregoing, I agree with you that it is time for the Federal Government to take hold of this organization and hiring for clean-up.

    Nobody should have to sign away their rights to tell the truth, no free press should be halted from exposing the real scope of this disaster. No local Sheriff should be working hand-in-hand with BP, nor with the Coast Guard to prevent the truth from coming out.

    More critically for the clean-up - nobody should be allowing poorly set booms to lose their anchor points, making them ineffective. If this requires more hands on deck, and as BP is clearly disinclined to hire in adequate numbers, then the Feds should do this and bill BP appropriately - for everything.

  •  Oligarchs and slouching toward Gomorrah (0+ / 0-)
    What else do you expect?
    Look at your TV adverisements. Sell insurance, change banks, Free Credit Report mind numbing repetitions.
    It is as if real work, with your hands has all been outsourced, and the United States is a country of scamming hucksters, looking for suckers to buy their junk over the next fellows junk.
    We allowed these slimy gangsters to rob us with spreadsheets, instead of pistols, and if you are not in the know, you live among the unwashed masses.
    Starting with the Saving @ Loan scandal through the "too big to fail" genius Wall Streeters, it has been one scandal after another. Talk about 5 year plans.
    If you want proof, just go to American, and read the far right looneys rantings. Then i am afraid you will either get a gun yourself, or kow tow to the elite.

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