Privatization gone wild

By Nancy Churchill
Contributor

Today my inbox had two appeals, this from SumOfUs.org: “The National Parks Service is preparing to open the door to unprecedented corporate sponsorship of parkland, monuments, and conservation areas.”

“Shocking?” the email continues, “Get used to it. It will be the new reality if a new quietly delivered National Parks Director’s Order is allowed to stand….”

“Auditoriums named after Coca-cola and Budweiser. Tour buses wrapped in Starbucks logos. And if this initiative is allowed to go through, it might not be long before ‘Wal-Mart’s Yosemite’ or ‘Monsanto’s Everglades’ become part of our national fabric.”

“Parks director Jonathan Jarvis is massively expanding the rules for what used to be called philanthropy…. [But the] order does more than simply allow corporate sponsorship – it aggressively pursues it, making fundraising a major duty of civil servants and even making securing new sponsorship contracts essential to the career advancement of superintendents and other parks managers!”

This outrage was followed closely by an email from the League of Conservation Voters: “[T]he House just passed a Defense Authorization bill that guts protections for public lands and is now moving forward with a spending package loaded up with anti-environment provisions.

“EPA funding: Slashed; Clean air and water protections: Blocked; Endangered wildlife protections: Gutted; America’s top parks program: Crippled.

“We’re suddenly facing attacks from every angle – and resources are very tight.”

Nah, really? Congress wouldn’t consider drastically defunding the EPA and the Park Service (blaming it on a serious budget crisis spawned by massive revenue shortfalls thanks to huge tax cuts for giant corporations), forcing the Park Service to raise private funds from these same corporate giants to market them to the public, just to keep its doors open, now, would it?

It appears our government is being reduced to nothing more than a colossal marketing agency for companies that already pay little or no taxes. Whether an outright conspiracy or just a consensus, so goes the corporate takeover – the privatization – of our country, one huge chunk at a time!

It’s the recipe articulated in the June issue of The Nation, by David Bromwich: “The 2011 sequestration deal – an extortionate bargain signed to avoid the embarrassment of a debt default – shrank the federal budget across the board for the indefinite future. This was the largest of the Tea Party’s victories, and it followed the recipe laid down by Grover Norquist: Starve the government of funds, make it perform so badly that people resent it more than ever, and use the growing popular contempt for government to enact further cuts.”

That recipe – the corporate takeover of our country – is working all too well. It’s flying under the public-awareness radar with entertainment-TV type distractions that pass as news, such as all Trump all the time.

We the People will only take our country back if we elect progressive representatives who will fight for us in Springfield and Washington.

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