Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday follies: Class War Edition

1. Canadian corporation SNC Lavalin is building a jail in Libya. The facility, according to SNC Lavalin, conforms to "international human rights standards". Does this mean the building comes with its own system of impartial human rights based jurisprudence? Dude, you're building a jail for a fucking dictator.

2. Shock Doctrine, Wisconsin. Paul Krugman lays it out.

In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.
What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.
For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.
And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”
What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.” If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone.
3. Ian Welsh gets at an interesting question: What happens when there's an Oil Shock in the middle of a global recession spawned by a toxic mix of powerful interests who will use it to further enrich themselves (see number 2)?

Have we had enough yet?


WILLY said...

Sadly I had enough 10 years ago and it is only getting worse.

Living out my remaining time, armed, off the grid and in a secluded cabin, seems like the ideal retirement.

OR continue doing what I have been doing for the last 40 some odd years, keeping head down so I don't get swiped too hard or too often.

Good post Boris.

Rev.Paperboy said...

I"m with Willy, I vote we all move to a heavily fortified, off-the-grid compound and start stockpiling ammo and canned food. We can be just like the Aryan Nations whackadoos out in Washington, Oregon and Montana, except without the hateful belief structure, room temperature IQs, racism and silly haircuts.

Dana said...

Too late. Would have had to get started years ago to be able to be self sufficient today.

Now its quite probable that the number of years required to really get set up properly are no longer available.