Category Archives: Privatization

Trump’s Corporate Takeover Detailed 100 Days into ‘For-Profit Presidency’

“The true depth of the administration’s unswerving commitment to an especially savage version of corporate capitalism is now, as we approach the first 100 days under the Trump administration, utterly clear.”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-24-2017

President Donald Trump “has gleefully signed measures making it easier for coal companies to pollute streams and rivers; authorizing Big Oil to hide payments to developing country governments; erasing obligations for government contractors to ensure the safety and health of their employees; and making it possible for cable and Internet providers to collect and sell our most personal information,” observed Public Citizen president Robert Weissman. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

President Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office the most unpopular U.S. leader in modern history for a reason.

Exacerbating his failure to uphold his populist campaign promises, a new report found that Trump spent the majority of his presidency enriching his own business empire while appointing fellow “corporate cronies” at the highest levels of government leading to what Public Citizen describes as “an unprecedented corporate takeover.” Continue reading

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Leaked Draft of ACA Replacement Reveals Massive Cuts to Subsidies, Medicaid

Just as polls reveal Obamacare and Medicaid expansion are more popular than ever, GOP moves closer to slashing subsidies and raising taxpayer costs—adding fuel to brewing protests nationwide

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Publisjhed 2-24-2017

A protest sign at the Women’s March in Los Angeles on January 21, 2017. (Photo: Larissa Puro/flickr/cc)

A leaked draft of a House bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was published Friday by Politico, and it reveals that Republicans are moving towards slashing subsidies and ending the Medicaid expansion—moves that are vastly out of step with the opinions of the American public.

The draft (pdf) reveals that Republicans are hoping to “take down the foundation of Obamacare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes. It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020,” per Politico‘s Paul Demko. Continue reading

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Why every American should fear abolishing the Department of Education

Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Carol Benedict

On the same day as the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary occurred, KY Rep. Thomas Massie introduced a bill to the House of Representatives in Washington DC, which consisted of 1 sentence.

“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

No provisions for the Department’s various responsibilities to be distributed to others, nothing. Just simply GONE.

Massie attempts to offer explanations of local schools and states as being the best qualified to determine the educational requirements of America’s children. In an ideal United States, this is an entirely reasonable notion.

But reality is never ideal. Left without any federal guidelines, in the past schools have not been able to demonstrate an ability to teach students across the nation in any form of standardized curriculum. A student in Minnesota or Washington state is given completely lessons, and thus grade completion standards, than a student in Florida or Mississippi, for example.

DeVos promotes a voucher system that allows students to bypass public schools and instead attend schools selected as chatter schools, This will then siphon the student’s portion of public education funds and transfers that to the charter school.

But charter schools are not required to teach special education classes or accommodate special needs students. Nor are they required to offer any accountability for student outcomes. They are allowed free reign to spend budgets as they wish. They are not participants of the federal school lunch programs, and they often offer curriculum based on a denominational or religious point of view

While it may seem all streamlined, there are a few important details slipping through the cracks.

After DeVos’ confirmation, Facebook exploded with comments from teachers. Among them, we noticed the following sentiments:

When you take money away from public schools and give it to charter and private schools, schools will be even more segregated. Very few poor parents can drive their kids to school each day, nor can they afford to pay the cost of private education not covered by a voucher, which will leave these children stuck in a public school with even less funding than before.

In addition, all schools that take federal money should have to show they are educating children, all children. If you take federal funds, not only should you be required to take every kid (those with mental, physical, and behavioral challenges), but you should be able to show you can successfully educate them. That’s what we require of public schools. Private and charter should be no different. Betsy DeVos disagrees.

Her lack of knowledge of federal disability laws and basic educational concepts is also appalling. Her appointment sadly proves that party lines are more important than children. Every American should fear this.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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Trump Vows to Make Paul Ryan’s Nightmarish Budget Vision a Reality

President Donald Trump’s campaign promises on safety net programs would certainly be broken if House Speaker Paul Ryan gets his way

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-26-2017

President Donald Trump on stage with Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan at the GOP congressional retreat on Thursday. (Screenshot)

In Philadelphia on Thursday, President Donald Trump seemed to reassure his party that he supports right-wing budget priorities like those embraced by House Speaker Paul Ryan—whose past budget plans have been denounced as “cruel,” “draconian,” “a massive cut-off of state funds to the most vulnerable population in the country,” “going after what Americans want, on issue after issue,” and “a Koch brothers’ dream and the American peoples’ nightmare.”

“He’s writing his heart out,” Trump said, looking over at Ryan during his address at the Republican congressional retreat. “And we’re actually gonna sign the stuff that you’re writing—you’re not wasting your time.” To the room of GOP lawmakers, who erupted in whistles and applause, Trump continued: “He would write and send it up—and nothing would happen. But now it’s gonna happen.” Continue reading

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EPA Nominee Pruitt’s Hearing Shows Him Poised to Be “Every Polluter’s Ally”

Bernie Sanders and others blasted Scott Pruitt’s anti-environment record on Wednesday, echoing scores of groups that oppose to his nomination

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2017

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. (Screenshot)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee dug into Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominee Scott Pruitt on Wednesday, blasting his record of suing the very agency he’s been selected to lead, and putting his fossil fuel industry ties front and center.

As Ben Jervey and Steve Horn reported for DeSmog Blog, the morning hearing unfolded in something of a pattern, with “Republican members complimenting the [Oklahoma] attorney general and lobbing him softball questions, and the Democrats grilling him on his stance on climate science, his ties to the fossil fuel industry, and his perspective on what role the EPA has in actually, well, protecting the environment.” Continue reading

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GOP Advancing “Extreme Bills,” Handing Reins to Corporations at Public’s Expense

“These wonky bills aren’t improving the federal government. They are an attack on our daily lives.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2017

“These dangerous pieces of legislation are one of the most egregious displays of political kowtowing to big polluter industries ever seen.” (Photo: Ron Cogswell/flickr/cc)

Launching what one group called “a coming massive attack on federal protections,” the U.S. House on Wednesday night passed the GOP-backed Midnight Rule Relief Act—making it easier for Congress to overturn Obama-era regulations—and appeared poised to follow that vote with passage on Thursday of another bill aimed at dismantling key health and safety laws.

Both measures were decried by environmentalists, consumer rights and public health advocates, and labor groups, who say they hand power over to corporations at the American public’s expense. Continue reading

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This Wondrous National Park… Brought to You By McDonald’s?

Quietly approved reforms by National Park Service that would allow corporate sponsorship and advertisements called a “disgrace” by public advocacy group

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-4-2017

“Now that this policy has been finalized,” warned Kristen Strader of Public Citizen, “park visitors soon could be greeted with various forms of advertisements, like a sign reading ‘brought to you by McDonald’s’ within a new visitor’s center at Yosemite, or ‘Budweiser’ in script on a park bench at Acadia.”

A controversial set of new rules quietly given final approval over the recent holiday—allowing national parks in the United States to expand corporate sponsorships and commercial contracts with private companies—is being called a “disgrace” by those who say the move is a betrayal of what the nation’s parks should be.

Despite outcry from citizens, documented in public testimony and hundreds of thousands petition signatures, the director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis announced on December 28 that he had signed an order—officially titled Order #21 on Donations and Philanthropic Partnerships—which, among other changes, ends an outright ban on commercial advertising and lifts restrictions on naming rights in parks. Continue reading

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Trump’s Advisers Want to Privatize Native Lands for Big Energy: Reuters

Co-chairs of Native American Affairs Coalition say they want to ‘take tribal land away from public treatment’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2016

Coming just as Native American water protectors cautiously celebrate a hard-fought victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposal is another example of Trump's incendiary and divisive policies. (Photo: Revolution Messaging/flickr/cc)

Coming just as Native American water protectors cautiously celebrate a hard-fought victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposal is another example of Trump’s incendiary and divisive policies. (Photo: Revolution Messaging/flickr/cc)

President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers are aiming to privatize Native American reservations that contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, Reuters reports.

Two chairmen of Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition told the outlet that they want to put those lands into private ownership, a proposal that would upend historic policies put into place to preserve Indigenous sovereignty. The plan would deregulate drilling, which the coalition says would benefit the tribes who currently have the rights to use the land, but do not own it. In addition to holding about 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas, the lands also include vast coal reserves—all worth an estimated $1.5 trillion. Continue reading

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‘A Call to End Slavery’: Nationwide Prison Strike Kicks Off

‘When we remove the economic motive and grease of our forced labor from the U.S. prison system, the entire structure…must shift to accommodate us as humans’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2016

Angola Prison, Louisiana. Photo: Refractory

Angola Prison, Louisiana. Photo: Refractory

Prisoners across the United States are launching a massive strike on Friday, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, to protest what they call modern-day slavery.

Organizers say the strike will take place in at least 24 states to protest inhumane living and working conditions, forced labor, and the cycle of the criminal justice system itself. In California alone, 800 people are expected to take part in the work stoppage. It is slated to be one of the largest strikes in history.

In the era of Black Lives Matter, the issues of racist policing, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other factors that contribute to the mass incarceration crisis are coming to the forefront of civil and human rights movements. Continue reading

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World’s Largest Strike? Tens of Millions in India Rise Up Against Right-Wing Economic Policies

Public sector workers across India went on strike to protest Prime Minister Modi’s push for privatization and demand higher wages

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2016

Strikers in , India. Photo: Twitter

Strikers in Jadavpur, India. Photo: @RitabrataBanerj/Twitter

Tens of millions of public sector workers in India went on strike Friday to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for privatization and other right-wing economic policies.

“This strike is against the central government, this strike is for the cause of the working people,” said Ramen Pandey, of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, to Al Jazeera.  Continue reading

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