privatization

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

Flint-Linked Veolia Merger Brings Water Privatization Closer to “Global Reality”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/10/2020 - 4:46am in

Veolia, one of the world’s largest private water corporations, has just announced the acquisition of 29.9 percent of Suez Water, another of the planet’s largest multinationals, with a plan to gain full control at a later date.

Based in France, Veolia already employs nearly 100,000 people worldwide, and this deal is set to greatly expand that. In order to get around French anti-monopoly laws, Suez will continue to operate in France, but Veolia will take over its operations around the world, including in the United States.

The company’s CEO, Antoine Frérot, has presented the move as a triumph for the environment. “I am very happy to lay the foundation stone in France today for a world super champion of the ecological transformation,” he said, adding that this was a “wonderful opportunity” for both investors and the planet.

Others were not so sure this takeover was such a positive move. Activist group Food and Water Watch decried the deal. “Veolia’s global domination of public water services is becoming a terrifying reality,” wrote its Public Water for All Campaign Director Mary Grant, warning of a host of negative consequences for humanity at large.

The merger of the world’s largest water corporations will erode any semblance of competition for water privatization deals. This lack of competition will lead to unaffordable costs for families, slack maintenance and safety procedures, loss of union jobs, and potentially rampant corruption. Water privatization has been a disaster for communities across the United States and around the world.”

 

“Lead seems to be a problem, do not pass this on”

The water and waste management firm is perhaps best known in the United States in connection to the Flint water crisis (2014-present), where it was employed in a number of lucrative roles by the city. While much of the public outrage has been directed at local and national officials, many in Flint blame Veolia for its alleged reckless disregard for their lives. In 2016, Michigan residents sued the company, accusing it of professional negligence, a charge Veolia called “outrageous,” claiming that people are “trying to create a corporate villain where one does not exist.”

However, last year, leaked email exchanges show that senior employees knew about the dangerous levels of lead and other carcinogens in the water but did not go public with the information. As a result, months passed before the city was forced to admit there was a deadly problem. The emails, published by The Guardian, are explicit, with officials communicating that “lead seems to be a problem” and instructing others, “do not pass this [information] on.”

In general, allowing private corporations to control water supplies has not been beneficial for local populations. For example, in the United Kingdom, water was privatized in 1989, with the cost of water to the consumer increasing at 40 percent above inflation ever since. Shareholders received $17.5 billion in dividends between 2010 and 2019, but the companies refuse to plug leaks that spill over 650 million gallons every year. As a result, the United Kingdom — a notoriously wet collection of islands — is facing a water shortage by 2045.

In 1997 the World Bank strong-armed Bolivia into privatizing its water system as a condition of a loan agreement. Almost overnight, prices soared. A water and sewer connection for a single household cost $445 in El Alto, where many residents earned less than $2 per day. Nevertheless, private companies managed to get the government to pass laws banning the collection of rainwater. The result was mass thirst, and anger that spilled over into the streets and set the tone for two decades of radical politics in the country, especially after U.S. corporation Bechtel sued the country for $25 million for canceling its municipal contract with them.

The United Nations recognizes the right to water and sanitation as a fundamental human right. Yet when the profit motive is injected into the equation, and it is treated as a commodity to be bought and sold, those without the ability to pay often miss out. Food and Water watch categorically warns against privatization.

“As the fiscal realities of the COVID crisis begin to set in for struggling municipalities, some may consider selling off their valuable water systems as a short-term solution. But this would create long-term harm. Communities must revert all privatized water and sewer systems to public control to ensure safety and affordability for all,” Grant added.

Feature photo | A student gets water from a cooler in the hallway at Gardner Elementary School in Detroit, Sept. 4, 2018, due to elevated lead levels in public water. Paul Sancya | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Flint-Linked Veolia Merger Brings Water Privatization Closer to “Global Reality” appeared first on MintPress News.

As of September 29, 2020, 5 Federal Courts Have Ruled Against the Postal Service

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/10/2020 - 11:55pm in

The Postal Service is getting whacked for service degradation that critics believe has a lot to do with upcoming voting by mail.

Mexico to Renationalize Oil Next Year If Current Laws Fail to Save Reeling PEMEX

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/09/2020 - 6:32am in

Faced with thousands of conservative opposition demonstrators camping out in the streets of Mexico City since he took office, the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is under renewed pressure to come up with a strategy to address the nation’s tottering energy sector, which has reached a critical juncture in the historic and controversial privatization carried out by his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, which marked the ostensible end to a central tenet of modern-day Mexican self-determination and reintroduced foreign and U.S. oil interests into the core of Mexico’s socio-economic development.

Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), once a bastion of Mexican national sovereignty, threatens to become an “incurable cancer,” according to Bank of Mexico’s deputy governor, Jonathan Heath, as the ‘liberalized’ state oil company tops the list of the world’s most indebted, with a balance owed in excess of $100 Billion.

On Thursday, AMLO announced his intention to reverse Peña Nieto’s energy reform bill if he is unable to find structural solutions to the company’s severe financial problems, which have been further complicated by the downgrading of its stock to junk status in April of this year by credit rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch, triggering billions of dollars worth of bond sell-offs.

 

COVID economy

Mexico’s financial outlook has dimmed considerably due to the confluence of the energy company’s problems and the internationally-imposed COVID-19 economic lockdown protocols. AMLO has blamed foreign oil interests for constricting his plans to use PEMEX as a springboard to correcting the nation’s economic woes and, in 2018, suspended all international oil auctions for three years after successful bidders failed to actually invest in oil exploration or production.

Mr. Heath, who was appointed by Obrador to head Banxico, the country’s national bank, came to assume the role after serving as chief Latin American economist for HSBC; a bank deeply embroiled in laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.  According to him, if AMLO doesn’t limit the company’s tax obligations, it will eventually affect Mexico’s sovereign rating because a full 14% of GDP is contingent on PEMEX’s production.

AMLO first hinted at the prospect of re-nationalizing Mexico’s oil industry in August and doubled down on the idea during Thursday’s press conference, as well as leaving open the possibility of refinancing the energy sector’s enormous debt. In June, Obrador vowed to boost capacity at the country’s six refineries in order to achieve gasoline independence by 2023.

“López Obrador has the potential to be one of the best presidents,” Heath claimed in a 2018 interview. He also “has the potential to be one of the worst…,” Heath told the Financial Times. In May, the head of Banxico characterized AMLO’s approach to the country’s economic crisis as swapping one problem for another, referring to AMLO’s decision to avoid debt as a mechanism to escape the economic problems brought on by the pandemic and the energy sector’s systemic issues. “Instead of having a short recession and then an immense headache with an unplayable debt,” Heath observed, “[AMLO] is betting on having a more profound and complicated recession, but once we are out, we will not have the same headache that other countries will have.”

 

Historical returns

The history of how PEMEX came into existence and its significance in the geopolitical landscape between the U.S. and Mexico, in particular, cannot be overstated. In the throes of one of the world’s bloodiest revolutions at the turn of the twentieth century, foreign oil companies and their respective governments were intervening directly in the pivotal conflict more than a hundred years ago.

British, German, and American firms were fighting amongst each other to control the country’s oil and were contributing to the turmoil by financing the different factions vying for control of a nascent political system. The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), the conservative party that emerged out of that war and that would rule uninterrupted for the next seven decades, hinged nearly all of its power on the nationalization of the country’s oil, which served to not only to eject the deleterious influence of the burgeoning foreign energy cartels from Mexico but also to forge a national identity.

As the world undergoes a transformation on par with the one that marked the beginning of Western hegemony in the twentieth century, Mexico, once again stands at the threshold of a pivotal course of action that will determine if the nation survives into the second half of the twenty-first century.

Feature photo | Striking workers from Mexico’s state oil company, PEMEX, stand next to their encampment outside the National Palace in Mexico City, Sept. 15, 2020. Rebecca Blackwell | AP

Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.

The post Mexico to Renationalize Oil Next Year If Current Laws Fail to Save Reeling PEMEX appeared first on MintPress News.

“Quick, Look Over There”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/09/2020 - 3:30am in

Trump and his loyalists would likely prefer people not to notice that his poll numbers continue to be bad. For him to convince people that a loss for him means the election has been stolen, he has to make people think he is running more strongly than he is. The administration is trying to deflect attention from the pandemic, financial crime reports and poll numbers. Continue reading

The post “Quick, Look Over There” appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

How Centrist Democrats Paved the Way for Betsy DeVos

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 10:15pm in

A consensus between Republicans and centrist Democrats around charter schools has been at the very center of education policy for the past three decades. Guest David Menefee-Libey joins us to talk about the formation of the charter school “treaty,” why it unraveled and what happens next. 

Complete transcript of the episode is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.

Jennifer and Jack’s forthcoming book A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School, is now available for preorder!

Have You Heard · #97 How Centrist Democrats Paved the Way for Betsy DeVos

The United States Post Office is in Trouble

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 1:00am in

Photo credit: Trevor Bexon / Shutterstock.com_____ As I turn onto the northbound entrance for the New Jersey Parkway and speed...

Read More

Charter Schools Find Gold in Federal Government Aid to Small Businesses While Black-Owned Firms Get the Shaft

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 04/09/2020 - 2:02pm in

Due to the economic fallout of Covid-19, charter schools added to systemic inequities that afflict black communities.

US Tax Dollars Funded Every New Drug in the Last Decade

Amid debates over costs—and profits—from a coronavirus vaccine, a new study shows that taxpayers footed the bill for every new drug approved from 2010 to 2019

Pages