Posts Tagged ‘Shock Doctrine’

Charter schools and the shock doctrine

August 4, 2014

 If a charter school consisted of teachers and parents who had an idea for better educating children, I would be in favor of letting them try.  And I favor supporting genuine educational reformers such as Geoffrey Canada.

Goodness knows there is room for improvement in American public schools, and I can recall when there was considerable support among poor people in American big cities for charter schools.

karp-1But this is not what the charter school movement is about today.   By and large the charter school movement consists of (1) ideological opponents of public services in general and public education in particular and (2) vulture capitalists who see charter schools as a way to make a quick dollar by acquiring public facilities cheap.

Naomi Klein wrote a book, The Shock Doctrine, about how radical privatizers take advantage of emergencies to impose their ideas on an unwilling public.   I don’t think it is coincidence that the two most extensive examples of charter schools are New Orleans and Detroit, where parents and voters lost their voice in public education.

Almost all the public schools in New Orleans were replaced by charter schools following Hurricane Katrina, and about half the schools in Detroit have been made into charter schools by the unelected emergency government.

Charter schools are considered great investment opportunities because they can operate at minimum cost, often using public facilities acquired cheap, without accountability as to the quality of the product.  Privatizing public schools is part of the same movement that seeks to privatize the postal service, privatize public roads and privatize public housing.

A friend of mine who teaches at a community college in Texas told me that one of his freshman students has a day job as a teacher in a charter school.   That’s a lot more cost-effective than paying a trained and experienced teacher—that is, from an investor’s point of view, not a parent’s.

(more…)

The Ukraine crisis: Links & comments 3/30/14

March 30, 2014
Crimean Tatar women protest breakup of Ukraine

Crimean Tatar women protest breakup of Ukraine

Elections are scheduled in Ukraine for May 25.   I don’t know how free and fair the elections will be or whether Ukrainians will have meaningful choices.  But it matters little, because the present unelected government of Ukraine has committed the nation to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that no elected government would ever agree to.  It is an example of Naomi Klein’s “shock doctrine” in action.

http://www.ianwelsh.net/ukraines-unelected-government-imposes-imf-austerity/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/10728149/Windfall-for-hedge-funds-and-Russian-banks-as-IMF-rescues-Ukraine.html

https://philebersole.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/the-shock-doctrine-in-ukraine/

The Ukraine government will sell off national assets at bargain prices, raise gas prices and cut public services as a condition for its loans to foreign banks to be paid off.  Yet I don’t read anything meaningful about this aspect in the national press.  Here are summaries of what is going on in Ukraine that are better than anything Americans are likely to read in their local newspapers or see on their local TV news programs.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/27/the-danger-of-false-narrative/

http://pando.com/2014/03/17/the-war-nerd-everything-you-know-about-crimea-is-wrong-er/

Another important aspect of the situation is the desire of certain neo-conservatives in the U.S. government to draw Ukraine into an anti-Russian alliance.   Vladimir Putin could not more tolerate the possibility of nuclear-armed American warships docking in Crimea than John F. Kennedy could tolerate Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-coup-in-crimea-or-in-russia/

http://nationalinterest.org/print/commentary/the-democratic-values-stake-ukraine-10069

Economic sanctions against Russia have a price that some countries – for example, Germany – may not be willing to pay..

http://www.dw.de/germanys-russian-energy-dilemma/a-17529685

That doesn’t mean that Ukrainians, including Russian speakers and ethnic Russians, necessarily want to be “rescued” by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117122/donetsk-letter-ukrainian-russians-dont-all-want-putin-protection

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n06/james-meek/putins-counter-revolution

http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/genocide/ukraine_famine.htm

Dmitry Orlov gives a Russian perspective on his ClubOrlov blog.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-madness-of-president-putin.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/03/reichstag-fire-in-kiev.html

Pepe Escobar of Asia Times has sharp commentary on the geopolitical implications of the Ukraine crisis.   Read his articles to get an idea of how U.S. policy seems to the outside world.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-02-270314.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-250314.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-02-200314.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-170314.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-120314.html

There are links to the latest from Ian Welsh, Pepe Escobar and Dmitry Orlov on my Blogs I Like page.

Who in Ukraine will benefit from an IMF bailout?

March 23, 2014

Economists Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers, in this informative interview with the Real News Network, said that most people in Ukraine will suffer, because the condition for an IMF loan will be lower living standards for a country already poor by European standards, higher taxes and fewer public services and a bankruptcy sale of the Ukraine’s rich farmland and other assets at bargain prices.

IMF loans never go to the people of the country receiving the loan.  They go to pay off the country’s creditors.  An IMF loan to a country is like a debt consolidation loan to a private individual.  In the case of Ukraine, the country’s creditors fall into two groups — the Russian Federation and its Gazprom natural gas company, to which Ukraine has billions of dollars owing and which no longer will sell Ukraine gas at a below-market price; and banks in western Europe and the United States, which have made billions of dollars in loans to the previous government.   Whichever group to which the IMF loans flow (I’m not betting on the Russian Federation), they won’t go to help ordinary Ukrainians.

Ukraine will then be in debt to the IMF, which will demand repayment by squeezing the money out of the Ukrainian people and by selling off Ukrainian national assets at bargain prices.  Rich Ukrainians may acquire some of these assets.  They will be the only Ukrainians who will benefit.

Hudson and Sommers pointed out that U.S. energy companies are planning for a disruption in Russian natural gas exports to western Europe, and building LNG (liquified natural gas) terms in U.S. ports so as to be able to sell gas in Europe.

(more…)

The shock doctrine in Ukraine

March 6, 2014

Naomi Klein, in her book, The Shock Doctrine, told how the global banking system took advantage of crises, and sometimes created crises, in order to force national leaders to accept policies against their will.   This seems to be what is going on in Ukraine.

Ukraine has beem in gave financial difficulties.  Last fall the International Monetary Fund offered Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich a bailout, under conditions that reportedly included a doubling of prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, the lifting of a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich agricultural lands, a sale of state assets, a devaluation of the currency and cuts in funding for schools and pensions to balance the budget.  In return, Ukraine would have got a $4 billion loan, a small fraction of what was needed.

Then the Russian Federation offered a $15 billion loan and a 30 percent cut in gas export prices.  Naturally Prime Minister Yanukovich accepted.  Then all hell broke loose.

Arseny Yatsenyuk

Arseny Yatsenyuk

A mysterious sniper killed peaceful demonstrators in Maidan square in Kiev and, as has happened with mysterious sniper attacks in Venezuela, Thailand and other countries, the killings sparked a violent uprising.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said in a leaked telephone conversation with the Ukraine ambassador that “we” want the former banker, Arseny Yatsenyuk, installed at Yanukovich’s replacement, rather than some more popular politician.  And that’s what happened.

Yatsenyuk said he will do whatever it takes to get IMF financing, even though this probably will make him the most unpopular prime minister in Ukraine history.  He in fact has little choice.  The Russian offer has understandably been withdrawn, and Ukraine is in a much more desperate plight than it was six months ago.

Elections are scheduled for May, but that’s plenty of time for Ukraine to be locked into binding commitments to the IMF.

Ukraine is a country rich in natural resources but poor in money — an inviting target for financial speculators.   Based on what has happened in other countries in like situations, I look for Ukraine’s resources and assets to be sold off at bargain prices.

I don’t see what business a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State has trying to name the head of a foreign government, or how this in any way benefits the American people.  It seems to be an example of the workings of Wall Street as a component of Michael Lofgren’s deep state.

LINKS

The shock doctrine

Washington’s Man Yatsenyuk Setting Ukraine Up for Ruin by Kenneth Rapoza for Forbes.

The Rape of Ukraine: Phase Two Begins by F. William Engdahl for World News Daily Information Clearing House.

(more…)

The shock doctrine in Wisconsin

March 2, 2011

Naomi Klein in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine described how right-wing ideologues in control of lending institutions and governments took advantage of crises to enact policies that people never would accept in normal times – wage cuts, curtailment of public services, curtailment of worker and consumer protection and the sale of public assets.

This fits what Gov. Scott Walker is attempting in Wisconsin and other Republican governors are trying in their own states.  Here is a quote from Walker’s budget bill, the same bill that curtails the rights of public employee unions.

“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).”

As I read it, the language of the bill gives Walker the power to sell off Wisconsin public assets at bargain prices to cronies or campaign contributors at next to nothing.  This is not conservatism, libertarianism nor laissez-faire capitalism in the historic meanings of those words. As Naomi Klein says, the proper name for this is corporatism.

(more…)