February 19, 2015


Some Debt Collectors Get Away With Shady Behavior When Collecting Debt For Government. . . According to “Above The Law,” an in-depth investigative piece from CNNMoney, government agencies — federal, state and local – have long hired private debt collectors to go after millions of Americans with unpaid taxes, tickets, bills and other debts. One of the country’s largest and most connected private debt collectors is Texas-based law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, which holds contracts for 2,300 clients in 21 states. . . . But CNN claims that Linebarger sometimes do things that other private collectors aren’t allowed to, like charging exceptionally high fees and employing threats against debtors. Such powers makes it relatively simply for collectors like Linebarger to transform small debts like an unpaid road toll from just a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, like the Texas driver whose unpaid $7.50 toll ballooned into a collections bill for $157.50. The Consumerist

GSA’s Hashmi: Private clouds aren’t really ‘cloud’….”The right long-term direction for the industry and government is to make the public cloud providers that have scale that none of us can ever match become secure enough that they can actually meet our expectations,” Hashmi said. He admitted his position is on the extreme side of conventional wisdom but believes that is where the market is headed. Federal Times

SC: Gov. Deal Wants State to Take Over, Privatize Struggling Schools; Democrats Offer Alternative. One week after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, unveiled a proposal to enable state takeovers and privatization of struggling schools, State Senate Democrats have put forth an alternative plan they say addresses the root causes of failure in the education system. . . . The legislation would create a grant program based on the Community Schools model, which has been implemented in several states including Ohio, Kentucky, and Oregon. Under this model, schools are transformed into community centers that offer an array of services tailored to the needs of each individual school. Atlanta Progressive News

IN: Hoosier School Heist book spotlights information within Indiana public school system. Indiana native Doug Martin’s book titled Hoosier School Heist: Corporation and Theocrats stole Democracy from Public Education details the assault on Indiana public schools and gives the dirt on the billionaires, theocrats, and corporations who are really calling the shots from behind the scenes. Hoosier School Heist, Martin follows the scandals, the corruption, and the money. Shockingly Martin shows violations in Open Door Laws; for example, felons, Republicans, people who did time in prison (and many more who should have), and child abusers. Indianapolis Recorder

IL: The Billionaire Governor Goes After Workers. In November, Illinois voters narrowly decided – after one of the most expensive gubernatorial elections in the nation’s history – to elect Bruce Rauner, a hedge fund billionaire, to lead the state. Consider it an experiment in class politics. How would a man of the 0.01% address Illinois’ many challenges? . . . Rauner has already frozen all “non-essential” state spending and hiring, with an exemption, apparently, for a $100,000 a year Chief of Staff for his spouse. The war on public workers will be accompanied by a continued assault on public schools. The piecemeal privatization of public education will be accompanied by piecemeal privatization of more public services. CounterPunch

FL: Letters: State foolish to privatize services. Last Thursday, the headline on the front page was “State may throw out $1B (billion) in contracts” regarding the health care afforded the inmates of our state prisons. The care of prisoners is not limited to inadequate health care provided by independent contractors, but also includes the independent contractors in charge of the prison system. This is what happens when the pro-business state decides to privatize an industry previously handled by the government. It is penny-wise and pound-foolish. In searching to improve their bottom line, contractors end up cutting services. They are responsible to their shareholders, not to the state that provides them with substantial contracts. Palm Beach Post

JIM HIGHTOWER: Exciting new democracy movement. Under the banner of “Reclaim Chicago,” a dynamic, politically savvy progressive coalition has emerged, engaging thousands of grassroots Chicagoans in a people-led democratic movement to reclaim their city from the cabal of corporate elites and corrupt politicians now reigning over them. . . . ndeed, the problem in Chicago has been that “one” has been in charge, imposing corporate rule that further enriches the rich, while holding down everyone else. At present, the city’s Numero Uno is Rahm Emanuel, the strong man mayor and Wall Street Democrat who uses everything from privatization schemes and tax favoritism to harsh budget cuts and arbitrary police action to shift money and power away from the people and the common good, into the coffers of the moneyed elites. Emanuel’s plutocratic ruthlessness is surpassed only by his blimp-sized ego – “Mayor 1-Percent,” as the people have dubbed him, thinks he’s untouchable. Stillwater News Press