February 17, 2015


A “Grand Alliance” To Save Our Public Postal Service. The conservative/Wall Street/1-percent/Republican anti-government strategy is to set government up to fail (usually by starving it of funding). Then they point to the resulting “crisis” they created and say that it proves that government doesn’t work and that we should therefore “privatize” it — in other words, rig the system against the majority by handing our common wealth over to a few wealthy people to harvest for personal profit. Now they’re coming for the U.S. Postal Service. Huffington Post

Citizens worldwide mobilize against corporate water grabs. The US and other governments are pushing a failed model of water privatization, writes Victoria Collier – but water is a human right, not just a commodity to be traded for profit or monopolized by corporations, and citizens and communities worldwide are fighting back, from Detroit to Cochabamba, from Berlin to Malaysia, to reclaim their water commons. The Ecologist

Rep. Jim Bridenstine seeks to privatize NOAA weather satellite program. . . As new chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Environment, whose responsibilities include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its subagency, the National Weather Service, Bridenstine is in a position to begin implementing his ideas for changing the way NOAA does business. . . . “There is a large commercial industry that has incredible potential to assist us in providing accurate information,” he said. “Considering options that reduce the burden on massive government satellite systems (would) allow us to more accurately predict the weather.” Bridenstine takes over chairmanship of the subcommittee at a pivotal moment for NOAA. Its two primary satellite systems, one in polar orbit and the other in stationary orbit over the United States, are both nearing the end of their operational lives. Their replacements, however, are not expected to be in orbit and fully functioning until months or even years after the existing satellites are scheduled to go silent. . . Bridenstine’s support of commercial satellites and data-gathering have led some to think he wants to end the ongoing NOAA projects, but in interviews and again Thursday he said that is not the case. Tulsa World

NE: Nonprofits criticize lack of county support during health center privatization.  . . . Many former clients expressed concern about a lack of information about which mental health center services would be continued and which wouldn’t, and how the changes would affect them. Other former clients said they were satisfied with their new therapists and caseworkers. A particular area of frustration for many former clients was the brief interruption of medication management services during the transition. There were two periods of a few days each when medication was not available for pick-up by consumers. One woman said she went a week without her meds because she didn’t have the information she needed. Lincoln Journal Star

WI: School Board Member: Scott Walker’s plan for charter schools outdoes ALEC in privatizing education. Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to privatize authority over charter schools is a trifecta of bad public policy, “untested, excessive, and irresponsible,” Madison School Board member Ed Hughes on his blog. Walker’s plan, as laid out in his 2016-2017 budget proposal, would privatize and politicize charter schools beyond what is being done anywhere else in the country, Hughes wrote.   Madison.com

MI: Lawmakers propose privatizing Michigan Lottery. The bills — one in each chamber — would require state Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen to seek bids from private companies for management of the state lottery, though the legislation wouldn’t require the commissioner to accept those bids. Both bills were just referred to committee and haven’t yet had a hearing. WZZM

TX: Smaller Trinity toll road: a legitimate plan or political ploy?. . . Opponents view the findings – and the consultants’ privately funded task itself – as a political distraction that ignores the financial and bureaucratic realities of a road whose designs call for six lanes and several large interchanges. Dallas Morning News