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Out LUMA!: Puerto Ricans Demand End To Privatization Of Energy

Hundreds of Puerto Ricans took to the streets of the capital, San Juan, on Wednesday July 3, to demand an end to the controversial contract signed by the government of Puerto Rico with the US-Canadian company LUMA Energy. During the march, organized by the Union of Electrical and Irrigation Industry Workers (UTIER), workers and activists shouted slogans like: “Privatized energy is rejected by the people”, “We demand electric energy because it is a human right”, and “They privatize energy and steal from us every day”, among others. According to the protesters, there has not been a significant improvement in the electricity service as promised with the privatization. Major blackouts and electricity connection problems continue.

Medicare Dis-Advantage: Overpayments And Inequity

Medicare Advantage—the privatized Medicare plans run by insurance firms but funded by the federal government—rips off taxpayers. On this there is little controversy. In March, MedPAC, Congress’s nonpartisan advisory board on Medicare policy, estimated that this year alone taxpayers will overpay Medicare Advantage plans by $83 billion—the savings to Medicare if all of those plans’ enrollees were instead covered by the traditional, fully public Medicare program. A 2022 New York Times exposé, “’The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: How Insurers Exploited Medicare for Billions,” lays out the gory mechanisms—like fraudulent schemes (known as “upcoding”) to make patients look sicker on paper, which ups payouts from the government.

How To Privatize A Mountain

We had followed the trail for a half mile when it ran headlong into a fence. Signs nailed to the trees blared messages of unwelcome: ​“Private Property” and ​“No Forest Service Access.” They were emphatic: The trail ends here. Our map — the official map of the Custer Gallatin National Forest — said different: The trail continued for another seven or eight miles, a substantial orange line winding through the foothills of Montana’s Crazy Mountains. The signs, though, had the desired effect. On the other side of the fence, the trail grew faint. This trail, known as the Porcupine Lowline, had been marked on U.S. Forest Service maps for nearly a century — the earliest I’ve seen is dated 1925.

Greek Students Hit The Streets For Protests Against Private Universities

For the third consecutive week, Greek student and youth groups and other progressive sections hit the streets, denouncing the conservative New Democracy (ND) government’s bid to open private universities. On Thursday, January 25, massive protest rallies were held in more than 40 cities, including Athens. Tens of thousands of students from coordination committees, and members of the Students’ Struggle Front (MAS), Panspoudastiki KS, Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), parents’ associations, teachers’ unions, and university workers demanded that the government scrap the proposed bill.

Argentina is Not For Sale: Unions Respond to Privatization

Argentines weary of annual inflation soaring above 140% and a poverty rate that reached 40% have elected right-wing libertarian economist Javier Milei. On Sunday, November 19, 2023, Milei defeated Economy Minister Sergio Massa by a wide margin, 55.7% to 44.3%, winning all but three of the nation’s 24 provinces. He had campaigned on the promise to privatise state-owned enterprises, slash government spending, dollarise the economy, eliminate the Central Bank, and close key ministries, among them health and education. Milei is making the privatisation of the Argentine state-run oil company, YPF, a top priority.  “The first thing to do is to restructure it so that YPF can be “sold in a very favourable way for the Argentinians.”

The Fight To Stop The Sale Of The Only Municipally-Owned Railroad

When Norfolk Southern first proposed to buy Cincinnati’s publicly-owned 336-mile stretch of railroad for nearly one billion dollars in July 2021, it probably seemed like an easy and lucrative deal for both the corporation and city officials — a deal that got even sweeter as the price was eventually upped to $1.6 billion. Under the offer, the company would gain total control of a crucial link in the rail network stretching between Chicago and Atlanta. And the city would get a big chunk of cash for infrastructure and other spending. But as Cincinnati residents prepare to vote on a Nov. 7 referendum necessary to complete the deal, as required by the state constitution, it’s becoming clear that the railroad behemoth and city leaders may not get their way.

People Of Panama Are In The Streets: ‘Our Homeland Is Not For Sale’

Panama has woken up once again. For several days now, thousands of its citizens have taken to the streets against a nefarious mining contract that would not only put vast areas of the country in the hands of private companies, with headquarters in the North, but would also cause irreparable environmental damage. The unpopular signing of the mining contract with Minera Panama, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals, has lit a popular uprising in the country and forcing government of the Democratic Revolutionary to face a new social crisis. Just over a year ago, the Panamanian people were the protagonists of massive protests against President Laurentino Cortizo over the high cost of fuel and food.

How The International Monetary Fund Continues To Shrink Poorer Nations

From 9 to 15 October, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank held their annual joint meeting in Marrakech (Morocco). The last time that these two Bretton Woods institutions met on African soil was in 1973, when the IMF-World Bank meeting was held in Nairobi (Kenya). Kenya’s then President Jomo Kenyatta (1897–1978) urged those gathered to find ‘an early cure to the monetary sickness of inflation and instability that has afflicted the world’. Kenyatta, who became Kenya’s first president in 1964, noted that, ‘[o]ver the last fifteen years, many developing countries have been losing, every year, a significant proportion of their annual income through deterioration of their terms of trade’.

Healthcare Choices Narrow For Kentuckians In Medicare Advantage

Louisville - With open enrollment underway, older Americans are getting barraged with television ads, mailings and online notices hawking a variety of Medicare Advantage plans for health coverage. But many Kentuckians, including thousands of state retirees, are largely captive customers with such plans selected by their employer as part of health coverage promised for those 65 or older — an increasingly popular means to cover retirees. And members of such plans may have fewer choices for care because of ongoing contract disputes between Baptist Health and three national companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Kentucky including Louisville-based Humana, which covers most state retirees.

New York City Tenants Battle Eviction

West Side Congressman Jerry Nadler faced boos and catcalls September 6th at the Fulton Senior Center in Chelsea. Dozens of tenants of the Elliott-Chelsea and Fulton Houses jammed the meeting chanting “My house is not for sale,” and “no demolition.”  Residents of the two housing projects located between Ninth and Tenth Avenues are enraged by Nadler’s support of a plan to demolish and rebuild the half dozen buildings and replacing the public housing with a luxury 3500-unit development.  Three-quarters of the new units would rent at New York City’s astronomical market rate. One quarter would be reserved for low- and middle-income tenants.

Is Intellectual Property Turning Into A Knowledge Monopoly?

The twentieth century saw the emergence of public funded universities and technical institutions, while technology development was concentrated in the R&D laboratories of large corporations. The age of the lone inventor Edison, Siemens, Westinghouse, Graham Bell had ended with the nineteenth century. The twentieth century was more about industry-based R&D laboratories, where corporations gathered together leading scientists and technologists to create the technologies of the future. In this phase, capital was still expanding production. Even though finance capital was already dominant over productive capital, the major capitalist countries still had a strong manufacturing base.

Groups In Queen City Fight To Stop Privatization Of Railroad

Railroad Workers United is working with local organizations to keep the nation's only municipally owned interstate mainline freight railroad in public hands. The Cincinnati Southern was chartered and built by the City of Cincinnati in the 19th century and has been run successfully for well over a century, historically being leased to a designated operator. Now, today's operator Norfolk Southern wants to take over the infrastructure outright. Citizens across the Queen City are organizing to maintain ownership and control of their railroad. Railroad workers stand with them in their struggle! As the November 7th vote nears, more and more citizens are questioning the wisdom of turning over the city's mainline freight artery between Cincinnati and Chattanooga to corporate outlaw Norfolk Southern.

Biden Infrastructure Report Pushes ‘Disastrous Water Privatization’

An under-the-radar report by U.S. President Joe Biden's National Infrastructure Advisory Council should not go unnoticed, said the national watchdog Food & Water Watch on Thursday, as buried in the document is a call for the privatization of U.S. water systems, which progressive lawmakers and civil society groups have long opposed. On page 15 of the 38-page report, the advisory council said the federal government should "remove barriers to privatization, concessions, and other nontraditional models of funding community water systems in conjunction with each state's development of best practice."

The Dystopian Future Of US Public Education Is On Display In Houston

On June 1, the state of Texas removed Elizabeth Santos, an elected school board trustee, from office and replaced her with Janette Garza Lindner, the candidate she defeated in December 2021. The ousting was part of a larger takeover of the Houston public school system by the Republican-led Texas state government — a process that began in late 2019 and became formalized June 1 when Mike Miles, a charter school owner whose school administrator license lapsed five years ago, was installed as the new superintendent of the district by Gov. Greg Abbott along with an appointed Board of Managers.

Attacks On Rural Letter Carriers; Devastating Restructuring Of USPS

More than 90,000 rural letter carriers for the United States Postal Service (USPS) are battling changes to their compensation which have led to massive pay cuts and longer workweeks. The replacement of the pre-existing method of calculating rural carriers’ hours and wages has resulted in wage cuts as high as $20,000 a year in some cases. Rural carriers’ attempts to challenge and prove any discrepancies between their actual work and what is calculated by the new system have been derailed by the USPS’s refusal to disclose the year-long electronic collection of data used by the system which they alone control.
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