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If you get caught collecting photons of sunlight for your own use you can drop a fine not exceeding 30 million.
So if you were thinking that the best option was just to have some solar panels that were down 80% in cost and have the opportunity to disconnect from the mains and your bill scam, you can forget about it.
With the terror of “destabilized” power consumption, sometime in 2010 someone has decided to privatize the sun …. yes you read that right: Spain, unlike the rest of Europe, levies a toll on electricity generated and injected to the line.
Committing the sacrilege of being energy independent can be very expensive, and the sun now is only for the privileged few and the power companies. The ”Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF ), which brings together some 300 companies representing 85% of the industry, ensures that these changes would be more expensive than resorting to conventional supply.
Tag Archives | privatization
Via Alternet, a great metaphor for vampire capitalism:
Mitt Romney’s private equity company Bain Capital is in the news again, this time for buying the majority of United Kingdom’s entire blood plasma supply. The Department of Health has sold the state-owned Plasma Reources UK (PRUK) to Bain Capital for £230 million.
The deal it is raising concerns about the seemingly limitless opportunities for privatization. PRUK had been dedicated to using low contamination risk populations, and critics fear the privatization of blood plasma could prompt profit-incentivized shortcuts and a contamination of blood supply.
Former Health Minister Lord Owen wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year and urged him to stop the sale. “The world plasma supply line has been in the past contaminated and I fear it will almost certainly continue to be contaminated,” Owen wrote. “Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin takes an in-depth look at the Nestlé corporation; its business practice of bloating the price of water, while pursuing the privatization of this common resource against the public good.
Via TomDispatch on the staggering sum being passed from U.S. taxpayers to a handful of contracting corporations in the name of maintaining the Pentagon’s global “baseworld”:
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Outside the United States, the Pentagon controls a collection of military bases unprecedented in history. With US troops gone from Iraq, it’s easy to forget that we probably still have about 1,000 military bases in other peoples’ lands.
The Pentagon has dispersed around $385 billion to private companies for work done outside the US since late 2001, mainly in that baseworld. That’s nearly double the entire State Department budget over the same period. Almost a third of the $385 billion has flowed into the coffers of just 10 top contractors, [with the largest amount going to] KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton.
Once upon a time, however, the military, not contractors, built the barracks, cleaned the clothes, and peeled the potatoes at these bases. This started to change during the Vietnam War, when Brown & Root, better known to critics as “Burn & Loot” (later KBR), began building major military installations in South Vietnam as part of a contractor consortium.
Corrections Corporation of America, recently sued over its collaborating with violent gangs, is now partnering with police to conduct “lock down sweeps” in which high schoolers are locked in their classrooms while canine units search their possessions for illegal contraband. Via PR Watch:
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An unsettling trend appears to be underway in Arizona: the use of private prison employees in law enforcement operations.
The state has graced national headlines in recent years as the result of its cozy relationship with the for-profit prison industry. Such controversies have included the role of private prison corporations in SB 1070 and similar anti-immigrant legislation disseminated in other states; a 2010 private prison escape that resulted in two murders and a nationwide manhunt; and a failed bid to privatize nearly the entire Arizona prison system.
And now, recent events in the central Arizona town of Casa Grande show the hand of private corrections corporations reaching into the classroom, assisting local law enforcement agencies in drug raids at public schools.
With such an effort, surely this war on drugs will be won soon. Wired reports:
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Unsure how your private security firm makes money as the U.S. war in Afghanistan winds down? One option: Go into the drug trade — more specifically, the lucrative business of fighting narcotics. The State Department needs a business partner to keep its fleet of drug-hunting helicopters and planes flying worldwide. You could make up to $10 billion.
Starting next month, the State Department will solicit some defense-industry feedback on a contract to help operate its 412 aircraft, based in at least eight nations, before it reopens the contract for bidding. Among the missions: “Provide pilots and operational support for drug interdiction missions such as crop spraying.”
In Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Pakistan, and Guatemala, State Department air operations mostly perform “counternarcotics and law enforcement activities,” explains State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala, and in Afghanistan it does transportation support as well.
Corrections Corporation of America is accused of using targeted prison gang violence as a cost-saving measure, ThinkProgress reports:
A lawsuit brought by eight inmates of the Idaho Correctional Center alleges that the company is cutting back on personnel costs by partnering with violent prison gangs to help control the facility. Court documents and an investigative report issued by the state’s Department of Corrections show how guards routinely looked the other way when gang members violated basic facility rules, negotiated with gang leaders on the cell placement of new inmates, and may have even helped one group of inmates plan a violent attack on members of a rival gang.
The inmates contend that officials at the prison — the state’s largest, with more than 2,000 beds — use gang violence and the threat of gang violence as an “inexpensive device to gain control over the inmate population,” according to the lawsuit, and foster and develop criminal gangs.”
As they say, as goes California, so goes the nation. The News Review reports:
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It slipped under the public’s radar, but a couple of years ago, Caltrans formed a unique contract that effectively privatized a major Northern California roadway traversed by millions annually. Now, more privatized highway projects might be approved over the next several years as major financial corporations and lobbying groups eye California as a potentially lucrative market for infrastructure, especially highways.
These so-called public-private partnerships, or P3s, are a multibillion-dollar global business. One Swedish corporation has called the United States the “trillion-dollar opportunity” for privatized highways and other public infrastructure.
Critics and union groups, meanwhile, argue that Californians should be wary of privatization of their roads. They remind that the reason California got rid of its P3 laws the first time in 2004 was because of bankruptcies and messy contractual clauses that suggested privatization might not be in the public’s best interest.
People for the American Way‘s paper (available in PDF form) titled Predatory Privatization, is a must-read overview of how corporate players are attempting to use state and local budget crises as an opportunity to seize essential public assets and functions, making America closer to an oligarchy:
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Privatization is a wonky term that can obscure the real mechanism and process at work. Through privatization schemes to outsource traditional governmental functions, taxpayer dollars are diverted from the building of public assets and institutions to create long-term revenue streams and profit for corporations.
Through privatization schemes that directly sell off assets that belong to the public, legislators enrich corporate interests at the expense of the long-term interests of the American people in assets their taxes have helped build. The privatization of the people’s assets is essentially permanent.
The agenda of privatization schemers was manifest at last August’s American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in New Orleans where ALEC members urged that the government, meaning the people, should not own buildings but should sell them to the private sector, which could then lease the space back to the government at a profit.
Well, corporations have nothing but contempt for local laws, people, or cultures, so their pursuing this extranational private city-colony model makes sense. The Washington Post reports:
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Investors can begin construction in six months on three privately run cities in Honduras that will have their own police, laws, government and tax systems now that the government has signed a memorandum of agreement approving the project. An international group of investors and government representatives signed the memorandum Tuesday for the project that some say will bring badly needed economic growth to this small Central American country and that at least one detractor describes as “a catastrophe.”
The project “has the potential to turn Honduras into an engine of wealth,” said Carlos Pineda, president of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships.
The project is opposed by civic groups as well as the indigenous Garifuna people. Oscar Cruz, a former constitutional prosecutor, filed a motion with the Supreme Court last year characterizing the project as unconstitutional and “a catastrophe for Honduras.”
“The cities involve the creation of a state within the state, a commercial entity with state powers outside the jurisdiction of the government,” Cruz said.