April 15, 2015


The mirage of public-private water. The reality is the partnership of a city and a company in delivering the right to water always holds the tension of conflict because the mission of a government and company are completely different. Open Democracy

A Life Sentence for a Blackwater Murder. . . We have, it is often said, the best and most well-trained military in the world. But we sent it into Iraq for reasons that proved false, and then swerved toward reliance on a fake army of mistrained mercenaries. The government acted as though Blackwater, in particular, was sophisticated and efficient—privatization at its best—even as its careless violence helped to dismantle America’s reputation in Iraq. The New Yorker

Time for a moratorium on charter schools – opinion. Charter schools are everywhere. Not long ago, these publicly funded but privately run institutions were a relative rarity. Those that existed served mostly as experimental academies whose successful lessons could be applied elsewhere in their host school districts. But in the last 15 years, swaths of the U.S. public education system have been turned over to charters. In fact, they are being used as a means to crush teachers’ unions and to pursue high-stakes testing. Al Jazeera America

Editorial: Cost of aging. . . Yes, these “entitlement programs” are expensive to maintain and sometimes attacked by conservatives who have no memory of the Great Depression and its soup lines and families constantly on the move with no permanent homes. Talking about “privatization” of such programs is the worst alternative of all. One stock market crash, and millions of people would be wiped out. Rather, there needs to be a national push, a task force, a joint effort from Congress and leaders of the private sector, to address the issue of long-term care as Medicare and Social Security were created long ago. It can be done. Because it has been done. News & Observer

IN: Enviro groups want feds to reverse Illiana approval. Environmental groups have written to the Federal Highway Administration asking the agency to rescind its December 2014 approval for the Illiana Expressway. The groups claim new developments and revelations, including Gov. Bruce Rauner’s refusal to offer any statement of support, undercuts previous rationales for the road. nwitimes.com

CO: Senate Republicans pursue land grab farce. An ill-advised measure to exert state control over federal public lands in Colorado has conservation advocates hopping mad. It’s unlikely the bill will ever result in a seizure of any U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management acreage in the state, but the very thought of it is an affront to anyone who cherishes the unique public land legacy that’s woven into the cultural fabric of the American West. Summit County Citizens Voice

IL: Voters pushed Mayor Rahm to the left. Will he stay there?. . . That fella—call him Rahm I—was a proud neoliberal who waved the flag of privatization. One of his early budget moves was to close health clinics and privatize city operations in the name of reform, while advocating massive tax breaks for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the name of economic development. . . Meanwhile, in the last year our mayor has turned into Rahm II, moving left with the realization that his earlier policies were out of whack with the majority of Chicago voters. He’s capped the creation of new charter schools, refrained from throwing TIF money at corporations, passed a bill raising the minimum wage, stood up for the collective bargaining rights of unions, and held off on the cut-the-pensions rhetoric—though that last move is probably because he’d already promised the firefighters’ union that in exchange for their endorsement, he wouldn’t touch their pensions. Chicago Reader

CA: Library privatization meeting gets big turnout. Community activists are pushing back against a recent proposal by County Supervisors to privatize county libraries. The turnout for last night’s demonstration at Beale Memorial Library was so large, the meeting had to be moved to a bigger room. Advocates for Library Enhancement talked about the importance of libraries to our communities. They also discussed funding alternatives that would allow the library to remain public including a sales tax increase. Kern Golden Empire