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- Conservatives unleash legal attack on public health at all levels of government.
- Oklahoma is threatening librarians against using the word abortion, and ramping up intimidating surveillance against them.
- A major victory for public education supporters in Idaho has been won after years of on-the-ground campaigning in rural areas and towns by an indefatigable campaign by grassroots activists
First, the good news…
1) National: The AFT has published its 2022 convention documents. Cut through the spin and read what teachers’ unions are saying themselves, including the AFT’s condemnation of recent Supreme Court decisions attacking our freedoms and rights.
2) National: In the battle to restore some sanity to popular understanding of the role of government after decades of bipartisan trashing, deregulation mania and the privatization of what should be public decision-making, a new project, The Civic Leadership Stories Project, has just released a report highlighting some of the ways popular entertainment can serve to increase and improve depictions of civic leadership and citizen engagement—and to counter existing failings of the way civic engagement is presented.
3) Idaho: A major victory for public education supporters in Idaho has been won after years of on-the-ground campaigning in rural areas and towns by an indefatigable campaign by grassroots activists including Luke Mayfield. “BREAKING: The Quality Education Act is officially CERTIFIED for the November ballot, giving voters a chance to boost funding by $323 million a year for stronger K-12 programs & better pay for teachers & support staff–all with no new taxes for anyone making under $250K. Yes on 1!”
The Idaho Capital Sun reports that “the education initiative is a form of direct democracy that, if approved by voters, bypasses the Legislature to create a new, supplemental funding source specifically for public schools. An analysis performed by the state found the initiative would generate $323.5 million per year, beginning in the 2024 budget year. ‘I spoke with a number of teachers over the past two years who told me that they were either leaving the profession or thinking of leaving it,’ said Luke Mayville, the co-founder of Reclaim Idaho. ‘They would ask me a really troubling question, which was, ‘why wouldn’t I leave?’ And it was always difficult to come up with an answer. But as I thought more about it, the best answer we have is this initiative, because Proposition 1 will send a clear signal not just all across Idaho, but especially to our Legislature that even if the powers that be are not respectful of our educators, the people of Idaho do believe in public schools. The people of Idaho do appreciate what educators are doing.’”
4) Montana: A life well lived. Amanda Curtis and Erik Burke of the Montana Federation of Public Employees, Montana’s largest labor union, pay tribute to the late Eric Feaver. “Feaver was a uniter, always willing to work with anyone, even if the day before they had been his sworn enemy. He put his neighbors, his community, and workers ahead of himself at every turn. He lifted others up, educating, training and setting the example for generations of fellow labor leaders, policymakers, educators. We are now, each of us, standing on his shoulders as we consider our role in protecting the Montana we love from privatizers and profiteers. Eric’s fire for justice was a candle that lit a ﬂame in thousands of us who will carry the torch and fan the ﬂames to protect Montana’s constitutional guarantees.”
5) New York: The state Wage Theft Task Force has cracked down on violators are garnered nearly $3 million in wage restitutions. “The state is also expanding its efforts to make it easier for workers to file complaints with the launch of a new hotline and a yet-to-be-unveiled online wage theft reporting system. The online portal, being run by the Department of Labor, will cost about $10 million and is set to be up and running by 2023. Officials said the system will not only streamline the filing of complaints but also provide agency with real time data, enhancing its ability to analyze and identify violation trends.”
6) Ohio: The Midwest is getting its first climate-adaptive park thanks to collaboration between the philanthropic and public sectors. “Origin Park may end up not only reacquainting people with nature, but also with each other. The people of New Albany, Clarksville, Jeffersonville and Louisville, too, all stand to benefit from the new park. “It can’t be a self-contained private development, because it’s a public park,” says Susan. “It has to be accountable to local governments. The political context of the three different municipalities and their historical differences and rivalries makes it on the one hand more challenging, but on the other hand, more freeing to do what we need to do to make this park come to life. My hope is that those political rivalries will become obsolete in the making of the park, because the park will be in everybody’s best interest.”
7) International: In a new plan to combat rising inflation and the energy crisis made worse by the war in Ukraine, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez “has announced that most short- and medium-distance trains will be completely free this autumn. (…) In a similar move about a month ago, Germany introduced a €9 monthly transport pass to help citizens facing the cost of living crisis. More than 20 million people are said to have bought the pass. And now the German government is thinking about bringing in a ‘climate ticket’, which would introduce permanent tariff measures to increase the attractiveness of local public transport.”
8) National: Some excellent education-related articles are coming out of the new Forum website, edited by Chris Lehmann. Last week the redoubtable Jennifer Berkshire, a leading warrior for public schools and against privatization, contributed an overview of the right wing’s attack on the public school system and education on race and history—and how some Democrats are facilitating this attack. “Still, despite these clear signals of robust support for quality public schools across the political landscape, it’s not clear that Democrats even remember how to defend public education. The issue that has most animated the centrist wing of the party this spring isn’t the GOP’s debased culture war attacks; no, it’s a battery of proposed reforms to the $440 million federal Charter School Program, started by Bill Clinton in 1995. (…) Republicans seem to think that Rufo’s message of ‘laying siege to the institution’ will rally voters in the midterms and beyond. And so far, many Democrats seem determined to prove them right.” Jennifer Berkshire joined Doug Henwood for a stimulating discussion of her article on his podcast Behind the News. [Audio, about a half hour].
On Friday Rick Perlstein, one of the leading historians of the American right wing, contributed a piece to The Forum tracing the current relevance of the long history of right wing school panics. These panics are deeply rooted in the fear of freedom—both for children wanting to grow and escape their controlling and often stultifying home environments, and in wider efforts at social control. “There is only one way to answer this attitude—an answer that can never be negotiated away: Assert with pride that the purpose of public education in our republic is to make us free, self-determining individuals. For some of us, that process will send us running far from our natal villages, never to return. That’s just life. That’s the real world. Although for some people, it will draw them closer to the world we came from than they’d imagined possible. It may even graduate them as conservatives. Conservatives should welcome the risk—for an identity that is freely chosen will always be stronger than one that’s produced under compulsion. And once they savor this sort of freedom for themselves, perhaps they’ll be less histrionic about granting it to others in turn.”
9) National: Having tried her utmost to destroy the federal Department of Education from within, right wing heiress Betsy DeVos has taken the mask off and called for the department’s elimination. “The three-day ‘Moms for Liberty’ summit was designed to teach and prepare attendees on how to stack local school boards with conservatives.” Devos “is also deeply involved in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign. According to Salon, she’s given the fascist governor half a million dollars in contributions. So it’s no wonder that many of DeSantis’ initiatives mimic DeVos’ ideologies, like expanding school vouchers, banning critical race theory, and instituting a ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, aka limiting LGBTQ discussions in classrooms. DeSantis has even begun endorsing conservative school board candidates,” though it is unclear where he would draw the line.
10) Alabama: A small town could lose some of its public schools if a church is given approval to start a charter school, WTVY reports. “Charter schools receive mixed reviews with some studies revealing they improve test scores for inner-city students, but others claim charters dilute the quality of public education. Dr. Coe believes the latter would be the case in Dothan and plans to speak in adamant opposition to Greater Beulah’s plan during the public hearing. “If we take 250 kids out of our classrooms we’re going to have to reorganize,” he said. Dr. Coe believes most Dothan school board members support his stance, but there is one wild card.” The Alabama Education Association is also expected to oppose Barnabas’ creation.
11) Arizona: As noted above, the right wing is increasingly turning to the language of violence as it becomes frustrated by resistance to its school privatization efforts. “As 12News reported Friday, longtime state Sen. David Livingston, R-Peoria, told an audience of superintendents and business leaders in Goodyear ‘there would be war’ if an effort to repeal an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) expansion law garners enough signatures by September to place the measure on the 2024 ballot. Livingston said Arizonans could expect Republicans at the legislature to keep a constitutional spending cap in place that would prevent school districts from fully spending money allocated to them by the legislature and the governor.”
12) Arkansas: Coming up on August 8 is a special session of the state legislature that will consider giving teachers a raise. A number of Democratic lawmakers are working hard to get it passed. “We are writing this letter to assure you that we are fighting for you. On August 8th, the Arkansas State Legislature will meet for a special legislative session. The purpose of this special session is to address our largest ever state surplus of $1.628 BILLION dollars. We believe that a school salary increase should top the list of priorities,” the Arkansas Times quotes a letter from the legislators. “A few Republicans have signed onto the movement to help teachers, but a majority seems lacking at this point. Most nonsensical is the Republican opposition that says the state can’t afford to add an ongoing cost to its budget, surplus or no surplus. But it CAN add a half-billion tax cut for the rich?”
13) Colorado: Support staff “deserve to have a voice and a say in their working conditions and they deserve to be valued and respected for the work that they do,” says CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert. Also read the recent resolutionsprepared by the Schools and Colleges Support Staff Issues Committee of AFT on support staff. “RESOLVED, that the AFT shall uplift the contributions, work, stories and voices of PSRP members in honor of National Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel Day Week.” First week of October.
14) Idaho/National: We need to improve our public education system by ensuring it has sufficient funding to properly educate our kids, not to consign it to the trash heap, writes Idaho Capital Sun guest columnist Jim Jones. “The Idaho Constitution strictly prohibits the use of public funds for any form of religious education. For the past 132 years, the separation of public money from religious instruction has been rigidly upheld in Idaho. SCOTUS has unfortunately provided a workaround. Those who want to pay taxpayer money to religious schools can simply pass a voucher program to evade the prohibition in our Constitution. Idaho voters need to let legislators know that the diversion of taxpayer money to private schooling will further degrade public education for Idaho kids. Legislators are mandated by the Idaho Constitution to “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” The Legislature has chronically failed to honor that mandate. (…) If legislators take money that should be used for public schools and divert it to private schooling, they will surely invite a lawsuit. The state has no business supporting private schools, while the public school system is suffering from insufficient funding.”
15) Michigan: A first charter school is being planned for Grosse Pointe, with the extreme right Hillsdale Collegeproviding the curriculum. “The Grosse Pointe Public School System has been the focus of a conservative push in recent years, with candidates for the school board running as a slate in the last election. Two of the four gained seats, but still constitute a minority on the board. They have expressed concerns over curriculum, mask mandates, enrollment and financial management.”
16) North Carolina: The North Carolina Court of Appeals has issued a 2-1 ruling favoring the town of Wake Forest in its legal dispute over construction of a new charter school. In response, the authoritarian John Locke Foundation’s Center for Effective Education said it would try to get the Republican-dominated state legislature to squash local self-determination on charter school decisions.
17) Tennessee: A charter school program tied to the controversial Hillsdale College has suffered a third rejection by a Tennessee school board. Watch the video, about a minute. “Nelson said the application from American Classical Academy was denied unanimously, 7-0, not based on Arnn’s comments but because ACAM failed to meet the standards. ‘With Hillsdale College, the application did not meet the scrutiny of our community, that’s why it was rejected unanimously,’ Nelson said. He said the decision was based on the committee recommendation and a lack of community support. ‘I tried to find an email where people asked to have charter schools, and none of the constituents wanted charter schools,’ Nelson said.”
18) Tennessee: Chalkbeat Tennessee reports that “lawyers suing Tennessee over its private school voucher law say they will seek to block the program’s launch for a second time while they challenge the constitutionality of the embattled 2019 statute.”
19) West Virginia: State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked a court to stay a ruling that struck down a state-sponsored education voucher program. “Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit ruled that the program, which would have been one of the most far-reaching school choice programs in the country, violates the state’s constitutional mandate to provide “a thorough and efficient system of free schools.”
20) Upcoming Event: This Thursday, July 28, Route Fifty will be hosting Building It Right: The Road to Successful Infrastructure Spending. Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, The White House, will be interviewed. “As funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act begin to flow to states, cities and counties, the real work of restoring the nation’s infrastructure has only begun. However, many obstacles including inflation, procurement delays due to supply chain disruptions, and worker shortages threaten the progress of states and localities to achieve their desired outcomes. In this special GovExec TV episode, Route Fifty will sit down with key federal officials to discuss existing progress, ways to strengthen intergovernmental partnerships and future opportunities.” Register here.
21) National/Puerto Rico: McKinsey clients cashed in on tens of billions of dollars of deals while the consulting company was working for the Commonwealth’s financial overseers, The Wall Street Journal reports. El Nuevo Día reports that these relationships were concealed by McKinsey from the bankruptcy court. “But, as published today by The Wall Street Journal, McKinsey did not disclose to the court presided over by Judge Laura Taylor Swain its links with Puma Energy Caribe, which since at least September 2016 has had contracts valued at more than $1,000 million dollars to supply gasoline and diesel to the Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Nor did [it] mention [its] professional relationships with Naturgy Energy Group and New Fortress Energy Group. Naturgy and New Fortress Energy have contracts for the supply of natural gas. In the case of New Fortress, its parent company is Soft Bank Group, which is a McKinsey client.”
Public interest groups have asked Raul Grijalva, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, to summon the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) to testify on the impact of “the privatization of the electricity grid, the high rates and the restructuring of the public debt of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA).”
22) California: Liberation reports on the struggle against land privatization in Hacienda Heights. “Two former schools in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, Glenelder and La Subida, are being sold to developer Lennar Homes for the development of luxury housing. Community members are suspicious of the sale as it found its way around the Naylor Act, which was written to keep school grounds from being privatized. There is evidence that the law was not followed properly. (…) In Hunter’s Point and Hacienda Heights, Lennar’s development plans were enabled by local representatives who sidelined the concerns of residents and trampled over laws written to protect public interest. Corporations like Lennar – and officials who enable their projects – undermine and work against the interests of working-class communities.”
23) Georgia: As the world burns up from global heating, critics accuse the Georgia Public Service Commission of dragging its feet on forcing Georgia Power to move off coal. “Georgia Power aims to shut down nearly all of its coal-fired power plants by 2028, except for Plant Bowen, which is set to be mothballed by 2035. The company plans to close 29 coal ash ponds in its push to produce more economically feasible electricity and cut greenhouse gas emissions to close to zero by 2050. The plan also calls for Georgia Power to solicit interest from companies for a biomass project. A last-minute amendment Thursday prompted commissioners to wait until the next updated long-term plan in 2025 before deciding when to close four coal-burning units at Plant Bowen.”
24) New York: New York City and New York State have reached agreement on financing the Penn Station redevelopment deal. “The city is on board with the state’s plan that allows developers to build 10 skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan and use money from leases toward the massive renovation of Penn Station and its surrounding neighborhood.” John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, “said the deal lacks details, like how much the developers are paying the state, and total cost of the project. ‘This is kind of a masterpiece of obfuscation and vagueness and it’s really a disgrace for an administration that pledged to be the most transparent in New York history,’ Kaehny said. ‘It’s mind boggling in its obtuseness to public concerns, and just continues in the vein of complete secretiveness that has dominated this entire process.’”
Politico reports that “there’s plenty of opposition to the plan, with good government groups and local politicians objecting because it would primarily benefit one developer, Vornado, which owns much of the land around Penn Station. The firm’s CEO Steve Roth has given generously to both Hochul and her predecessor Andrew Cuomo, who came up with an earlier version of the plan. Eminent domain could be used to seize properties around the station. The other elephant in the room: How wise an investment is it to build a bunch of massive new Manhattan office towers when it looks like remote work is here to stay and much of the city’s existing office space is sitting mostly empty?”
25) Pennsylvania: In a 3-1 vote, the Bucks County Water & Sewer Authority (BCWSA) “formally entered exclusive negotiations for the sale of the county’s sewer system to Aqua Pennsylvania last week for $1.1 billion. (…) If successful, the sale would be the largest in PA since the 2016 passing of Act 12, ‘the private water lobby’s dream legislation,’ according to Food and Water Watch’s Public Water for All Director Mary Grant. The law, which is ostensibly intended to facilitate purchasing water utilities at fair market value from struggling municipalities, opens the door for private water entities to make huge profits. Aqua Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Essential Utilities (NYSE WTRG) has already taken advantage of this opportunity, buying up vast networks of water systems throughout Southeastern PA in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.”
26) International: Former New South Wales (Australia) Labor ministers Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly “are facing criminal charges flowing from an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into a controversial water infrastructure company. The trio will face court charged with criminal offences after a 2014 NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings. (…) ICAC’s probe of Australian Water Holdings found the then-Labor MPs and Brown engaged in serious corrupt conduct in relation to a lucrative public-private partnership proposal by the company.”
27) International: Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty details how one of England’s greatest cities, Manchester, “sold itself” to “one of the most brutal police states in the Middle East. To dissent in the UAE is to rot in jail, in a regime with proportionately more political prisoners than anywhere else in the world. Low-paid migrant nannies or builders are, Human Rights Watch says, ‘forced labour.’ Yet such facts did not deter the council’s Labour leadership from going ahead” with numerous deals.
28) National: “They don’t have any humanity,” says ICE detainee Bel’Or, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Bel’Or’s struggles navigating the immigration system since his detention have become emblematic of the wrongdoings at Ice facilities across America. (…) ‘You hear a lot of racial slurs. You hear a lot of dismissive and bullying behavior targeted specifically when people of color are asking for medical attention or have special dietary needs,’ she said. For example, ‘we work with a lot of Jamaican immigrants [and] they will request the Rastafari diet, and they are ridiculed for that. They’re definitely not provided what they’re requesting.’ (…) ‘Nobody believes us when we say they don’t treat us like humans, and they grab us and they abuse us and they hurl slurs at us and they do not treat us with any form of dignity, much less compassion,’ she said. ‘It’s a part of who America is. And it is especially a part of what policing looks like in this country. And ICE is just an extension of the police force with even more power. Because they’re dealing with migrants who have less rights.’”
29) National: The California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice reports that “labor strikers at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center and the Golden State Annex, owned and operated by the GEO Group, have released a statement.” They say: “We want to be very clear: We are human beings and we have rights. GEO and ICE run these facilities with unchecked power. We are inspired in our fight by detained workers in Washington State, who sued GEO and won $17 million on back pay, and detained workers in Adelanto and Aurora, who are fighting for recognition of their rights as workers. We too are here to say that enough is enough. This lawsuit is not just about labor exploitation with the $1-a-day pay, it is about the never-ending list of violations that put our lives–and the lives of thousands across the country–at risk, and the dehumanization of immigrants.” Read their court complaint against GEO Group.
30) National: GEO Group has been hammered by Moody’s. The rating agency “has downgraded GEO Group, Inc.’s ratings, including its corporate family rating and senior unsecured debt ratings to Caa2 from Caa1 and its senior secured credit facility to Caa1 from B3. The speculative grade liquidity rating was changed to SGL-3 from SGL-4. Concurrently, the company’s rating outlook was revised to stable from negative.”
31) National/Colorado: Westword reports that GEO Group coerced Aurora ICE detainees into cleaning common areas. “The documents in the federal court case—which had been restricted but eventually became unrestricted, perhaps owing to an oversight by GEO’s lawyers—show that staffers at the Aurora ICE facility have a history of coercing detainees into cleaning common areas for free, a violation of ICE policy.”
32) Louisiana: Lafayette is going to get the state’s first privately financed jail. “Any such plan for a jail in Lafayette Parish would go to a public bid for building the facility and need final approval from the Lafayette Parish Council to authorize funds for lease payments.”
33) National: Right wing lawmakers and corporate-funded organizations are working overtime to weaken public health protections at the state and local level around the United States. “You have civil servants up against a machine that has a singular focus and that is incredibly challenging to deal with,” said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Association of County and City Health Officials. “This will come back to haunt America,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. “We will rue the day where we have other public health emergencies, and we’re simply unable to act decisively and rapidly.”
34) National/Oklahoma: Oklahoma is threatening librarians against using the word abortion, and ramping up intimidating surveillance against them. “The library worker who spoke to Motherboard is concerned about who has been given the authority in MLS to make these decisions, which seemingly contradict the American Library Association’s Principles of Intellectual Freedom. They note that within the Metropolitan Library Commission of Oklahoma County—which comprises 27 members who represent each municipality with a library or library extension located within its boundaries—only the library’s executive director, Larry White, holds a Master’s of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. ‘If you don’t have an MLIS, why are you trying to make decisions about the library? It feels like the Roe v. Wade thing all over again,’ the library worker said. ‘You’ve got people under the library managers who are required to have further education than them.’”
35) National: Dr. James Fieseher, a recently retired primary care physician, says private companies are looting the Medicare Trust Fund. “Despite its cost-effectiveness, Medicare is being privatized through the so-called ‘Medicare Advantage Plans.’ We’ve seen all those commercials telling us to enroll ‘for free.’ What those commercials don’t tell you is that the ‘advantage’ is entirely for the private insurance companies who are making billions of taxpayer dollars from the Medicare Trust Fund.”
36) Colorado: Logan Harper, a Denver physician, says Colorado should change its constitution to allow public abortion funding. “As a resident family physician in Denver, I am unable to provide abortion care in my clinic due to a 1984 state constitutional amendment that prohibits the use of public funds for abortion. This law limits access to essential reproductive healthcare and disproportionately affects poor, rural, Black, Indigenous, and Latino people across Colorado. To serve as the bastion of abortion access that the country so desperately needs, we need bold political leadership that is determined to move past the state’s unjust status quo. To truly promote reproductive justice in Colorado, we must make public funding available for abortions. This would improve abortion access in three critical ways.”
37) Idaho: The state lottery has given $73 million to state agencies. “Ybarra received over $45.6 million on behalf of the SDE Tuesday. The new funds will be split between the School Building Fund Account to support building maintenance and the Bond Levy Equalization Fund to pay interest on public school bonds across the state. The lottery money that goes to K-12 schools is about 2% the size of the general fund budget for K-12, which currently sits at $2.1 billion. The money will be allocated to K-12 schools based on enrollment, Ybarra said. Donaldson received the remaining $27.3 million for the state’s Permanent Building Fund to help maintain state-owned facilities, including public college and university buildings.” As a publicly-operated lottery, for-profit private lottery behemoths don’t get to cream off the revenues as in other states.
38) National/Kansas: State election officials are struggling with paper shortages, harassment, and insider threats, the Kansas Reflector reports. “Elections officials from 33 states, gathered for a conference under tight security, warned that the next few election cycles will be affected by paper shortages and the potential for threats from inside elections offices. The meeting of the National Association of State Elections Directors this week was held with stringent security precautions, given the ongoing threats and harassment faced by elections officials across the country in the years since the 2020 election. Organizers didn’t publicly share the location of the meeting and attendees were instructed to keep name badges visible inside the conference rooms, but not to wear them outside the hotel. NASED executive director Amy Cohen said the group coordinated with federal, state, and local law enforcement for the event to protect the attendees who are dealing with serious security concerns.”
39) International: Privatizing public sector assets will be highly detrimental for persons with disabilities in India, writes Uttam Kumar Verma. “The private sector has never been responsible for bringing any kind of transformative change in the lives of people with disabilities. In an era of economic crises and job losses, the government is pushing for more privatization, and the policy of disinvestment brought by the Modi government will have a drastic negative impact on people with disabilities. (…) With the privatization of banks and railways, persons with disabilities employed by them might lose their hard earned jobs. In future, with the absence of reservation policy in the private sector, they may never get employment, despite possessing the abilities and skills.”
40) International: The Common Front for Social Justice New Brunswick warns that “recent changes in the health care system would open the door to the privatization of services, which would greatly disadvantage people living in poverty. With buzzwords such as ‘efficiency’ and ‘quick results,’ the removal of democratically elected New Brunswickers from regional health authorities and the Telegraph-Journal editors calling for more ‘private options’ in the health care system, the privatization risks are significant. Limiting health care reform decisions to a small group of people with no consultation or oversight will impact the population’s ability to prevent privatization before it’s too late.”
41) National: Will a second Trump term mean that the federal government would be politically decapitated in a mass purge, with the firing of over 50,000 top administrators and their replacement by an extreme right wing administrative and political occupation army commanded by an autocrat? That seems to be the bracing message of a deeply reported, must-read 7,500-word piece in Axios about plans for the next Trump “administration.”
42) National/Oklahoma: An Oklahoma mayor has resigned, citing threats. “Threats and harassment can dissuade people from seeking elected positions, according to Herrick’s findings. In one survey, she and her colleagues asked elected officials if they knew anyone who had decided not to run for office because of the hostility public officials face. Seventy-one percent of respondents said “yes.” ‘That’s probably where, at this point, the greatest effect is: That you have a lot of people not seeking office, more so than you have lots of people leaving office,’ she said.”
Photo by World Bank Photo Collection.