The Trump administration has a brilliant idea on how to deael with the conundrum of the 16 year war in Afghanistan: privatize it by outsourcing it to a private mercenary army. Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan By Jim Michaels, USA Today The White House is actively …
Aug 08 2017
Apr 16 2015
During the 2014 midterm election cycle, the Koch-funded group Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) backed a bevy of extreme conservative candidates and helped send top Koch cronies (and veterans) Joni Ernst and Tom Cotton to the U.S. Senate. Scarcely a couple months into the 2016 cycle, CVA has released a report recommending that much of the U.S. Veterans Administration be privatized, an extreme policy position that would jeopardize the care received by millions of our nation’s veterans.
Last month, CVA’s Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce released its final report suggesting “policy reforms” for the VA, namely that the VA’s health care system be converted into an independent, nonprofit corporation and advocating for the creation of a private insurance option for veterans. Additionally, new enrollees into the proposed system would face tougher enrollment standards. According to USA Today, a whopping one-fifth of future veterans would not be eligible for care under CVA’s proposed system. It’s no wonder then that the American Legion has come out against the plan, as did Paralyzed Veterans of America, and that “most veterans service organizations skipped” the rollout of the CVA’s final report, according to Stars & Stripes Magazine.
Most veterans organizations don’t support CVA’s privatization plan, and it has the potential to negatively impact some 20 percent of future veterans. So what explains CVA’s release of what Stars & Stripes calls a “radical” plan for the VA? Consider that CVA received a whopping $5.5 million from the Koch brothers’ “secret bank” – Freedom Partners – in 2013. The Kochs have advocated for education reform by way of abolishing the federal Department of Education and campaign finance reform vis-à-vis doing away with the FEC. So it’s disappointing, but not surprising, that a Koch group’s vision of VA reform is to privatize most of the agency charged with caring for our nation’s veterans.
Koch favorite and presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio has already endorsed the extreme CVA plan. Will the rest of the Koch cronies follow suit and contradict the position of most veterans service organizations?
The idea of privatization through vouchers is also supported by two other GOP presidential contenders: former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The right wing would like nothing more than to dismantle the entire social safety net for everyone.
In a two part segment, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted how the right wing was quietly working to privatize segments of the Veterans Administration through vouchers for health care outside the system.
In the second segment, she speaks with Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, about the importance of the VA in the American health system, how the VA is improving after recent scandals, and political challenges from conservatives interested in privatization.
Founder of VoteVets.org Eric Solz pointed out in an article for Huffington Post that the voucher system would undermine funding to the VA and shuttle veterans into a system that is not equipped to handle their special needs.
The scandal that rocked the VA over excessive wait times to get care and excessive backlogs in processing claims was terrible. It was also a problem that was, literally, years in the making. Before Secretary Eric Shinseki, not a single VA secretary, Democrat or Republican, tried to get the VA to move to a modern, computerized system. And the VA never prepared for the influx of veterans when we launched the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to overstretched facilities cooking their books to avoid punishment.
There is no doubt that veterans shouldn’t have to rely on the VA for everything. But what Republican candidates, backed by the Koch-brothers-funded Concerned Veterans for America, talk about is the beginning of the end of the pact we make with our veterans to give them the care they need. What they want is the privatization of veterans’ care: Fight for your country and get a voucher.
What this would do is severely underfund the department, leaving veterans out in the cold when it comes to many of their service-connected injuries. For example, VA centers are often equipped to deal with amputations and traumatic brain injuries in a way that a local doctor or hospital might not be. But if we voucherize the system, local VA centers and hospitals would be forced to shutter their doors. For veterans in need of specialized care — both physical and mental — they may not have an able caregiver to turn to in their area.
Furthermore, the VA, despite the bad press, continues to far outpace private care in national customer satisfaction surveys. Veterans like the care they get at the VA. A lot. Closing the VA is the first step toward ending other popular programs like Medicare. In fact, that’s what this whole fight is about.
Jun 13 2013
Like much of our government, spying has been privatized. 70% of surveillance is done by private companies that translates to $6 billion dollars with a half a million employees.
Meet the contractors analyzing your private data
by Tim Shorrock
Private companies are getting rich probing your personal information for the government. Call it Digital Blackwater
Amid the torrent of stories about the shocking new revelations about the National Security Agency, few have bothered to ask a central question. Who’s actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, metadata and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet service providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens?
Over the past decade, the U.S. intelligence community has relied increasingly on the technical expertise of private firms such as Booz Allen, SAIC, the Boeing subsidiary Narus and Northrop Grumman. About 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on the private sector. Former NSA Director Michael V. Hayden has described these firms as a quote “digital Blackwater.” We speak to Tim Shorrock, author of the book “Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence.”
Jul 11 2011
cross-posted from Main Street Insider
This week, we take a look at a proposal to end Social Security “as we know it.” H.R. 2109, the Savings Account for Every American Act of 2011 would establish a path for individuals to opt out of Social Security in exchange for a “defined contribution” system.
Apr 05 2011
This morning after my workout I passed a newstand and noted this headline in the Sun-Times:
RAHM WARNS UNIONS (Teachers to work longer Hours)
Day Laborers to show up in greater numbers
Surprised boobala! Really. He was a DLCer when he was an alderman in Chicago and Washington DC only strengthened that line of thought. Note also that the stats show more working class, AAs, Latinos are moving out to suburbs and the wealthier are moving into the City of Chicago. I was chased out of my little bungalow in Chicago, so that a $2 million house could be built. I can attest to how the working class, lower middle and now middle were chased out of the City. Rahm was alderman of one of the north side areas during this time period.
Rahm Emanuel warns teaching, labor unions about changes
Mayor-elect RE is layin down the law to two unions whose cooperation he needs to turn Chicago around: teachers he wants to work a longer school day and laborers he wants to simply show up at work in greater numbers. During the campaign, he declared his support for curtailing teachers’ right to strike. He also made it clear that, if teachers won’t agree to work longer hours for extra pay, he’ll ask the Illinois General Assembly to mandate it.
My guess is (and I was a long time resident of Chicago) the “extra pay” will fall by the wayside and charter schools will benefit from this someway.
Also, the use of the word “laborers” troubles me. Nothing wrong with laborer – we’re all laborers in a sense but it cuts down to size certain unions – say carpenters, plumbers – who are rightly proud of what it is they do. It lumps all into the Laborer camp. And we all know how laborers are respected in 2011 USA. Implicit in the wording is that the laborers are getting paid even though they don’t show up for work.
It’s unlikely Chicago’s elites will send their children to public school in any event. They’ll go to private schools where kindergarten for instance costs something like $14,000 a year. Class War, anyone!
LET THE PRIVATIZATION BEGIN. Because of course it will save the taxpayers lots of money! N.O.T.
Dec 20 2010
“The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers”
~ Jean Piaget [Swiss Psychologist. Pioneer in the study of child intelligence. 1896-1980]
“The purpose of education is to enable us to develop to the fullest that which is inside us”
~ Norman Cousins [Essayist, Editor associated with Saturday Evening Post 1912-1990]
“America’s noble experiment, universal education for all” may have become but an idealized theory. In practice it long seemed the impossible dream. However, for the hopeful this statement was a reverie, although the veracity was virtually unrecognizable at best. Still the notion lived on. The powerful prose marveled many. That is all but believers in a for-profit privatized educational system. Today, corporate aficionados have conquered. Commerce controls School District Administrators. It shapes decisions made. Countless elementary and secondary school campuses are transformed in accordance. Big business buys and sells city classrooms. Our forefathers would have thought present-day headlines could only appear in fictional accounts. Nonetheless banners blare, “This Class Is Brought to You By. [fill in the corporate enterprise of your choice]”
Nov 12 2010
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Our Topics This Week:
Fire up your helicopters, and burn your worthless Benjamin’s to warm your catfood, the perfect trifecta of economic shocks will have austerity measures in your lap before you can say “re-regulate.”
While former Prez’nit Decider re-writes history to give us a warm fuzzy about the anal probe, he extols the virtues of our Current Capitulater for a good reason… he’s about to help jam it in us deeper than the Shrublet’s wildest dreams!
Viewed within the history of deregulation, business personhood and recent overt Elite favoring SCOTUS rulings, let WWL Radio guide you into the latest Shock therapy the US is undergoing. The market has been flooded with a weakened dollar, while Obama tries to market it to the G20. (or 19 he’s screwing) The Catfood Commission has ruled that we need to give the rich more and the people less. Trillionaire businessmen have bought ads to flood Prime Time to convince us that the SOLVENT Social Security must be privatized or you won’t GET yours! (bullshit)
And not ONE of these measures will bring you a JOB or the Country economic relief.
As the Fear and Loathing is ramped up against our own citizens and our Justice system takes a pass on everything from rich hit and run drivers to CIA destruction of Evidence – the rise of a Class War 2 tiered system is evident on every level. Will we wake up before its too late?
In 1975 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’
That time is NOW.
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Nov 03 2010
With the election over, it’s time to move on to new things, and the folks at the Campaign for America’s Future have asked me to do some writing about Social Security, which sounds like some big fun, so here we are.
We’re going to start with some reasonably simple stuff today, just to get your feet wet; by the time we get a few stories down the road there will be some complicated economic analysis to work through-but let’s begin today by looking a bit south.
Those who support privatizing Social Security in this country often point to Chile as an example we could follow, and that seems like a good place to get the conversation going…so set your personal WayBack Machine to Santiago, May, 1981, and let’s see what we can learn.
Oct 05 2010
Citigroup, Ally Sued for Racketeering Over Database
By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Thom Weidlich – Oct 4, 2010
Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. units were sued by homeowners in Kentucky for allegedly conspiring with Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. to falsely foreclose on loans.
The lawsuit, filed as a civil-racketeering class action on behalf of all Kentucky homeowners facing foreclosure, also names as a defendant Reston, Virginia-based MERS, the company that handles mortgage transfers among member banks. The suit claims that through MERS the banks are foreclosing on homes even when they don’t hold titles to the properties.
The homeowners claim the defendants filed or caused to be filed mortgages with forged signatures, filed foreclosure actions months before they acquired any legal interest in the properties and falsely claimed to own notes executed with mortgages.
Forgery is No Joke.
Neither is being evicted, by Banks who ‘really don’t own’ your Home.
Sep 23 2010
If Republicans got their Way … there would be no more Medicare.
If Republicans got their Way … you couldn’t Retire until 70.
If Republicans got their Way … they’d privatize Social Security.
If Republicans got their Way … there would be no more Corporate income tax.
If Republicans got their Way … they’d eliminate taxes on Capital gains.
If Republicans got their Way … they’d cut in half the taxes of the richest 1 percent.
If Republicans got their Way … the Bush Tax Cut for the Rich would never end.
Factlets from The Republican’s Roadmap for America’s Future:
The Ryan Budget’s Radical Priorities
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
By Paul N. Van de Water — July 7, 2010
If Republicans got their Way … Christine O’Donnell would be their new Class Treasurer!
Jun 30 2010
It seems that Party who likes to apologize to Corporations — for Our Oceans, getting in the way of, their Profits — is at it again!
Not only are they blaming the Victims of the Bush Great Recession, for not taking one of those non-existent Jobs (there is only 1 job to had for each 6 people that need one) —
The Leader of the GOBP Party is now telling American to brace for the Raising of the Retirement Age — his rationale: It’s the only way we’ll be able to pay for the Afghanistan War!
Jeesh! Don’t they know that the Unemployed, have PAID FOR Unemployment Insurance, just for times like these?
Don’t they know that American Workers have PAID FOR FICA Taxes, just so that we can retire with a meager shred of Dignity?
Don’t they know that these are Social Contracts, that OUR Govt has MADE WITH US — in a effort to carry out the ideal “that all are created equal” —
that none should be cast aside, without hope, without opportunity, without a social safety net…
NO of course Not … the Party of No Way, has some very different type of Contracts in mind …