19 Apr 2014

NY Joins Pact to Elect Presidents by Popular Vote

New York has joined an interstate agreement to award its electoral votes to whatever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote. 

New York is the 11th state to join the compact. 

The National Popular Vote movement would guarantee the Presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia). "The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election," according to the organization's website.

Now 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes have signed on—California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

"New York pledges to award its 29 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in ALL 50 States plus the District of Columbia, but only to take effect once enough other states have passed identical legislation so that the compact possesses a majority of the Electoral College’s 538 votes," Cuomo said in a press release.

The total number of votes needed in the Electoral College to elect a president is 270.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the states have the power to allocate their electoral votes, and may change their state laws concerning the awarding of those votes at any time. 

Lawmakers said this new method would be more fair, avoiding undue emphasis on early primaries and swing states and giving more weight to issues that matter to more voters. 

Only seven states mattered in the 2012 presidential election, according to the organization's website. 


Source:http://bedford.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/ny-joins-pact-to-elect-presidents-by-popular-vote

The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy

In a setback for the renewable energy movement, the state House in Oklahoma this week passed a bill that would levy a new fee on those who generate their own energy through solar equipment or wind turbines on their property. The measure, which sailed to passage on a near unanimous vote after no debate, is likely to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. 
The bill, known as S.B. 1456, will specifically target those who install power generation systems on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. However, those who already have such renewable systems installed will not be affected.
Still, it’s the new customers who will rapidly make up the majority, even in a traditional oil-and-gas powerhouse like Oklahoma. That’s because the cost of solar power systems has beendrastically falling for the last five years. Solar installations nationwide are going to shoot up to an estimated 45 gigawatts in 2014, a new record, and are projected to grow even more in coming years as solar prices fall further and fossil fuel extraction gets harder and more expensive.
Now, utility firms in Oklahoma say they just want to be compensated for use of their infrastructure. But renewable energy fed back into the grid is ultimately doing utility companies a service. Solar generates in the daytime, when demand for electricity is highest, thereby alleviating pressure during peak demand.
Oklahoma is not alone. Last year, Arizona enacted a similar lawLegislators in Spain tried to do the same thing. The pushback against renewable energy, it seems, is already here.
That there is a pushback should not come as a shock. Technological innovations are often resisted by those who have a stake in the old system, and energy companies are deeply invested in fossil fuels and nuclear power. While some old energy companies — such as BP and ExxonMobil — are investing in fast-growing renewables as a hedge against their current business model going the way of the dinosaurs, it’s hardly surprising that many are quietly demanding legislation to make renewables less competitive.
But giving into this pressure is a really bad idea. Renewable energy isn’t just any new technology — it is, as the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argues, our best and possibly only hope to mitigate dangerous climatic changes caused by humans dumping carbon emissions into the atmosphere:
The new IPCC report warns that carbon emissions have soared in the last decade and are now growing at almost double the previous rate. But its comprehensive ­analysis found rapid action can still limit global warming to 2°C, the internationally agreed safe limit, if low-carbon energy triples or quadruples by 2050. [The Guardian]
The answer? Renewable energy:
Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable. "It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet," said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team. [The Guardian]
Renewable energy already has a mountain to climb. Many complain about President Obama’s modest subsidies for renewable energy, but on a global scale fossil fuels receive ten times the subsidies that renewable energy enjoys. That makes it more difficult for renewable energy to compete in terms of cost. Even though renewables have some inherent advantages — namely, that they’re renewable, whereas fossil fuels are finite — it’s an uphill battle.
And every dollar of taxes on solar and wind makes the goal of a renewable-energy world more distant.

These Facts Are Disturbing (20 pics)





















18 Apr 2014

Rare ‘Perry Mason’ moment in court wins dismissal for defendant, desk duty for 5 police officers

A seemingly routine suppression hearing in a suburban Chicago courthouse last month took an unexpected dramatic turn when video from a police car was introduced that disproved the testimony of five police officers.
They had said Joseph Sperling was arrested after officers who pulled him over in a traffic stop smelled marijuana, searched the vehicle and found nearly a pound in a backpack lying on the back seat of his car. But the Glenview police video showed the search occurred only after Sperling was taken from his car, frisked and handcuffed, reports the Chicago Tribune . The newspaper dubbed it "a 'Perry Mason' moment rarely seen inside an actual courtroom."
Castigating the officers for their "outrageous conduct," Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn granted a defense motion to suppress the search, which eliminated a basis for his arrest and resulted in a swift dismissal by prosecutors of the felony drug case against the 23-year-old.
"All the officers lied on the stand today," said Haberkorn, who herself is a former prosecutor, at the March 31 hearing. "So there is strong evidence it was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie."
The officers were later put on desk duty as investigations of their conduct proceed.
The Tribune says the Glenview arrest of Sperling last June came at the request of Chicago narcotics officers who had Sperling under surveillance. They asked local police to pull him over in a marked car, which occurred when Sperling allegedly failed to use his turn signal (he says he did). Then, one of the Chicago officers testified, he smelled marijuana as he waited for Sperling to produce his license and registration. Sperling testified he was never asked to do so.
The officer, supported by testimony from four other Chicago and Glenview officers, said he ordered Sperling to exit the vehicle and stand by the trunk as he searched it. However, the video shows the search didn't occur until after Sperling was sitting, handcuffed, in a police car.
Another discrepancy in testimony concerned the location of the backpack in which the marijuana was located: Police said it was in plain view on the back seat of the car. Sperling said it was under the seat.
If not for the video, which Sperling's lawyer Steven Goldman got by issuing a subpoena to the Glenview police department, and produced in rebuttal at the suppression hearing, Sperling likely would have been convicted and jailed, the attorney told the newspaper.
Now Sperling has filed a federal civil rights suit over his arrest.

Gay Police Chief Fired "I would much rather have somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children"

 About 100 residents of this small Dillon County town showed up for a special meeting of the town council Thursday night, all with one subject on their mind: Crystal Moore’s firing from the police chief post by Mayor Earl Bullard.
Bullard made it clear before the meeting that Moore’s firing wasn’t on the agenda, and he wasn’t going to talk about it.
But that didn’t stop Councilwoman Lutherine Williams and other council members. When the official meeting adjourned, they simply moved it outside.
“All of these citizens came out tonight to be heard,” Williams said after Bullard refused to hear from anyone on the Moore matter.
“You did not have to be standing in corners and out in the hallway,” she said to the standing room-only audience, many of which were forced to listen to the meeting via loud speakers outside the town hall. Those who did make it inside had to show proof of residency.
“We came to him (Bullard) early and asked to have the meeting changed to another location so each of you could attend and be comfortable. He said no, we couldn’t do that. When I called Columbia to talk to them, they’d never in their life heard of people having to sign some form to come and say something in the town they live and work in and pay taxes. This is so wrong. This is so not right.”
Bullard fired Moore on Tuesday but has refused to comment on why he fired her. Councilman Jarret Taylor said Moore was fired because she refused to sign seven written reprimands. Taylor said Moore simply asked to talk with her attorney before signing, but Bullard demanded that she sign the reprimands immediately. When she didn’t, he fired her.
The reprimands were tied to Moore’s investigation of the town’s new Parks and Recreation Department Director Vontray Sellers, who was hired by Bullard in February. The Latta Police Department began looking into Sellers’ background after it was reported that Sellers was driving a town vehicle despite having a suspended driver’s license.
Williams, Taylor and several other council members and local residents said Bullard has been intent on getting rid of Moore because of the former police chief’s sexual orientation.
In a recorded telephone conservation with Taylor that made its way to media outlets and online earlier this week, Bullard said:
“I would much rather have — and I will say this to anybody’s face — somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children. … I’m not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I’m not going to see them do it with two men neither.”
Bullard tried to go into executive session to discuss the Moore firing Thursday night, but council members refused to make a motion to do so. Several said they felt the matter should be discussed in the open.
During the meeting, council members approved second reading of an ordinance that would allow town residents to vote on a referendum that would change the town’s form of government from strong mayor-weak council to strong council. Williams and other councilmen said the change would be the first step in stripping the mayor of some of his powers.
“He doesn’t think he has to follow any rules,” Williams said. “We have a town hall that’s become a Town Hall Burger King. Everything is have it his way. But we’re gonna change that. Everything with him is ‘I, I, I’ but we don’t live in an ‘I’ town. We live in a ‘we’ town. I love each and every one of you, and my intention is to do what’s right. If I’m never elected to sit in this chair again, I’m going to do what’s right.”
Williams requested that a special meeting be held to discuss Moore’s firing. She said she and others will continue to fight for Moore until she is reinstated.
Moore, who has worked for the town since she was a teenager, said she’s overwhelmed and touched by all the support and encouragement she’s received.

“I’m going to fight for my job,” Moore said. “I haven’t ever done anything but uphold the law and the policies of the town of Latta. I’ve tried to live a quiet life and do what’s right.”

Source:http://www.scnow.com/news/article_2e1af550-c693-11e3-8dd4-0017a43b2370.html?mode=jqm

Obama: "Countries like Germany, China and India - they're working every day to out-educate our kids so they can out-compete our businesses. And each year, frankly, it shows that they're making more progress than we are."


Countries like Germany, China and Indiaare working every day to out-educate kids so they can out-compete American businesses, the US President Barack Obama said adding that these nations are making more progress than the US.
"Countries like Germany, China and India - they're working every day to out-educate our kids so they can out-compete our businesses. And each year, frankly, it shows that they're making more progress than we are," Obama said yesterday.
"We're still ahead, we've still got the best cards, but they're making some good decisions," Obama said in address on "skill training" to students of a community college in Pennsylvania.
"We've got to make those same decisions," the US president said as he urged his countrymen to work towards better skill development.
In his speech, he emphasised on training Americans with the skills that they need for the good jobs that are going to be here today and tomorrow.
"You know better than most how in recent decades the economy hasn't always worked for middle-class families. You saw outsourcing. There was a time when finding a good job in manufacturing wasn't all that hard. If you were willing to work, you could go to the local factory, maybe the factory your dad was working in, and say, I'm ready to go, and they'd sign you up," he said.
"And over time, the economy changed, part of it because of globalisation, some of it because of new technologies. And you've seen, sometimes painfully, where technology shutters factories and ships jobs overseas, and even makes some jobs obsolete," he said.
"But you know what, we're not going to reverse all those trends. We can't stop technology. And you've got a global economy now where we've got to compete. We live in a 21st century global economy. Jobs know no borders, and companies are able to seek out the best-educated, most highly-skilled workers wherever they live. And that's where the good jobs and the good pay and the good benefits is going to be," Obama said.

The negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident nearly 40 years later

The negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident nearly 40 years later, according to new research by King’s College London. The study is the first to look at the effects of bullying beyond early adulthood, and is published in theAmerican Journal of Psychiatry.
The findings come from the British National Child Development Study which includes data on all children born in England, Scotland and Wales during one week in 1958. The study published today includes 7,771 children whose parents provided information on their child’s exposure to bullying when they were aged 7 and 11. The children were then followed up until the age of 50. 
Dr Ryu Takizawa, lead author of the paper from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, says: “Our study shows that the effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later. The impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood.”
Just over a quarter of children in the study (28%) had been bullied occasionally,and 15% bullied frequently – similar to rates in the UK today.
Individuals who were bullied in childhood were more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health and cognitive functioning at age 50. Individuals who were frequently bullied in childhood were at an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts.
Individuals who were bullied in childhood were also more likely to have lower educational levels, with men who were bullied more likely to be unemployed and earn less. Social relationships and well-being were also affected. Individuals who had been bullied were less likely to be in a relationship, to have good social support, and were more likely to report lower quality of life and life satisfaction.
Professor Louise Arseneault, senior author, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s adds: “We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing-up. Teachers, parents and policy-makers should be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children. Programmes to stop bullying are extremely important, but we also need to focus our efforts on early intervention to prevent potential problems persisting into adolescence and adulthood.”
Bullying is characterized by repeated hurtful actions by children of a similar age,where the victim finds it difficult to defend themselves. The harmful effect of bullying remained even when other factors including childhood IQ, emotional and behavioural problems, parents’ socioeconomic status and low parental involvement, were taken into account.
Professor Arseneault adds: “40 years is a long time, so there will no doubt be additional experiences during the course of these young people’s lives which may either protect them against the effects of bullying, or make things worse. Our next step is to investigate what these are.”
This study was funded by the British Academy and the Royal Society.

Mysterious American plane lands in Iran, no one knows (or will say) why

President Obama has warned that Iran is not open for business, even as the United States has loosened some of its punishing economic sanctions as part of an interim nuclear pact.

Yet, on Tuesday morning, Iran had an unlikely visitor: a plane, owned by the Bank of Utah, a community bank in Ogden that has 13 branches throughout the state. Bearing a small American flag on its tail, the aircraft was parked in a highly visible section of  Mehrabad Airport in Tehran.

But from there, the story surrounding the plane, and why it was in Iran — where all but a few United States and European business activities are prohibited — grows more mysterious.

While federal aviation records show the plane is held in a trust by the Bank of Utah, Brett King, one of its executives in Salt Lake City, said, “We have no idea why that plane was at that airport.”


Speaking to air force commanders in Tehran on Thursday, Ayatollah Ali Khameini said Iran interactive Multimedia Feature: Timeline on Iran’s Nuclear ProgramMARCH 21, 2013
He said that the Bank of Utah acted as a trustee for investors who have a financial stake in the plane and that the bank was investigating further.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it had no information about the investors in the aircraft or who was operating it. Officials waiting at the gangway at Mehrabad Airport said only that the aircraft was “V.I.P.”

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the federal government’s primary enforcer of sanctions against Iran, declined to comment on the plane’s presence there. Under United States law, any American aircraft would usually need prior approval from the department to go to Iran without violating a complicated patchwork of rules governing trade.

In the case of this particular aircraft, powered by engines made by General Electric, the Commerce Department typically would have to grant its own clearance for American-made parts to touch down on Iranian soil.

Iranian officials also declined to comment on the purpose of the plane’s visit or passengers’ identities. A spokesman for Iran’s United Nations mission in New York, Hamid Babaei, said: “We don’t have any information in this regard. I refer you to the owner.”

The tracking of planes has become a kind of global sport, as largely amateur photographers post thousands of images showing arrivals and departures in their attempts to chronicle flight paths. In the case of this plane, for example, one spotter spied it leaving an airport in Zurich around the time of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, held in January. Another photographer tracked the plane, identified by its call letters N604EP on the tail engines, departing a London-area airport for Ghana last October.

But this week’s spotting by a New York Times reporter in Tehran carries particular intrigue because it involves Iran, a country still effectively shunned by the global financial system.

Even some former federal officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the very presence of an American-flagged aircraft parked in broad daylight suggested its flight had been approved as part of a legitimate business trip. What is more, they said, the easily identifiable plane was not likely to be part of a covert diplomatic mission.

The secrecy surrounding the plane is compounded by federal aviation regulations that can make it virtually impossible to determine who was flying it.

The private plane, like thousands of similar ones, is owned through a trust — a complex legal structure often established to help foreign individuals or corporations invest in planes that can fly freely within the United States. Aside from that benefit, the structure enables investors and operators to remain largely anonymous to the public. The trustee — in this case, the Bank of Utah — is the sole entity recorded as owner in a vast database maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Bank of Utah is listed as a trustee for 1,169 aircraft, ranging from Boeing 747s to single-engine Cessnas, according to a review by The New York Times of the database. The Bank of Utah acts as a trustee for more planes than just about any other bank, the review shows.

Mr. King, who helps run the bank’s trust services business, said the bank had no “operational control” or “financial exposure” to any of the planes.

He said he was not allowed to disclose the identity of the plane’s investors. “As fiduciary, we must keep information confidential when it comes to the beneficiary,” Mr. King said.

While the trusts allow celebrities and corporate executives to travel discreetly, they also help obscure who is operating vast fleets of aircraft and why.

The shadowy role of American banks in private aircraft ownership has grown even as financial regulators work to shine a light on Wall Street’s activities, a legacy of the 2008 financial crisis.

Bank dealings with Iran in particular are subject to extraordinary scrutiny by the United States government, part of a broader crackdown on the flow of money to foreign countries and individuals that American officials say is tied to terrorism.

The British bank HSBC, for example, reached a record $1.92 billion settlement with federal authorities in 2012 to resolve accusations that it funneled billions of dollars on behalf of Iran and enabled Mexican drug cartels to move tainted money through its United States subsidiaries.

Even before the current sanctions, American aircraft rarely landed in the country. The animosity between the two countries has grown so intense that even the occasional emergency landing by a United States commercial airliner sets off a flurry of speculative news reports.

For his part, Mr. King said Thursday in an interview that he was trying to get to the bottom of the aircraft’s presence in Tehran. “The Bank of Utah is very conservative, and located in the conservative state of Utah,” he said. “If there is any hint of illegal activity, we are going to find out and see whether we need to resign” as trustee.

Source:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/world/middleeast/mystery-shrouds-american-plane-at-tehran-airport.html?_r=0

Woman who stabbed her boyfriend to death rolls her eyes and laughs at the victims family. Judge shuts her down by sentencing her to life in prison and adds 'I hope you die in prison'. Tag is for the murderer

 A Michigan judge lost his cool when a woman convicted of killing her boyfriend interrupted a family member of the victim who was speaking to the court during sentencing.
"Is that it?" Camia Gamet, the convicted killer, asked.
That's when Jackson County Circuit Judge John McBain delivered the type of rant rarely heard in a courtroom, which you can see in the video above.
"You're going to shut your mouth or I'm going to have some duct tape put on it," he said. "You gutted him like a fish... you were relentless."
As Gamet appeared to grin and smirk, the judge really let loose.
“You stabbed. You stabbed. You stabbed. You stabbed. You stabbed until he was dead," he said. "I agree with the family, I hope you die in prison as well."
McBain said that if Michigan had the death penalty, "you'd be getting the chair."
Instead, she's getting life.
Gamet, 31 was convicted of stabbing and beating 38-year-old Marcel Hill to death in 2012. Her defense maintained that she thought she was defending herself from an unknown attacker, but his family members testified that she had a history of violence, and that she had stabbed him before, according to coverage from MLive.com.
In another incident, she allegedly hit him in the head with a hammer.
McBain later defended his outburst.
“I don’t think anything I did was wrong,” McBain told MLive.com. “Sometimes, I think a judge needs a little fire in the right kind of cases."
Last year, McBain told another convict being sentenced to life that he would die in prison.
"You are going to die in the Department of Corrections. I have no doubt you will appeal for many years, but ultimately you are going to die," he said during the sentencing of Michael Patrick-Murphy Hamilton, who was convicted of killing Robert Marcyan in September 2012, according to the Press & Guide. “But this is never going to make sufficient atonement to the family of this victim; the tragedy that you visited upon them that they will live for the rest of their lives.”

World Bank wants water privatized, despite risks

Humans can survive weeks without food, but only days without water — in some conditions, only hours. It may sound clich├ęd, but it’s no hyperbole: Water is life. So what happens when private companies control the spigot? Evidence from water privatization projects around the world paints a pretty clear picture — public health is at stake.
In the run-up to its annual spring meeting this month, the World Bank Group, which offers loans, advice and other resources to developing countries, held four days of dialogues in Washington, D.C. Civil society groups from around the world and World Bank Group staff convened to discuss many topics. Water was high on the list.
It’s hard to think of a more important topic. We face a global water crisis, made worse by the warming temperatures of climate change. A quarter of the world’s people don’t have sufficient access to clean drinking water, and more people die every year from waterborne illnesses — such as cholera and typhoid fever — than from all forms of violence, including war, combined. Every hour, the United Nations estimates, 240 babies die from unsafe water.
The World Bank Group pushes privatization as a key solution to the water crisis. It is the largest funder of water management in the developing world, with loans and financing channeled through the group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). Since the 1980s, the IFC has been promoting these water projects as part of a broader set of privatization policies, with loans and financing tied to enacting austerity measures designed to shrink the state, from the telecom industry to water utilities.
But international advocacy and civil society groups point to the pockmarked record of private-sector water projects and are calling on the World Bank Group to end support for private water.
In the decades since the IFC’s initial push, we have seen the results of water privatization: It doesn’t work. Water is not like telecommunications or transportation. You could tolerate crappy phone service, but have faulty pipes connecting to your municipal water and you’re in real trouble. Water is exceptional.

Private sector priorities

“Water is a public good,” Shayda Naficy, the director of the International Water Campaign at Corporate Accountability International (CAI), told me, “for which inequality has to fall within a certain range — or it means life and death.” When the private sector engages in water provision, greater disparities in access and cost follow.
Water is also different because it requires such huge, and ongoing, infrastructure investments. An estimated 75 percent of the costs of running a water utility are for infrastructure alone.
The track record of publicly funded private water projects shows that the private sector doesn’t find it profitable to invest in the infrastructure really needed to ensure that communities have access to clean and affordable water. “Water companies have found that their niche is seeking efficiency solutions through hiking prices and cutting spending on infrastructure investment,” Naficy told me.
Even as the World Bank Group continues to promote water privatization, its own data reveal that a high percentage of its private water projects are in distress. Its project database for private participation in infrastructure documents a 34 percent failure rate for all private water and sewerage contracts entered into between 2000 and 2010, compared with a failure rate of just 6 percent for energy, 3 percent for telecommunications and 7 percent for transportation, during the same period. 
A look at projects deemed successes (PDF) by the World Bank Group shows they are not experienced that way on the ground. An IFC-funded private water project in central India’s largest city, Nagpur, for example, is the country’s first “full city” public-private partnership and has raised serious concerns among local residents. Worries range from high prices to project delays to unequal water distribution and service shutdowns. Allegations of corruption and illegal activity have led residents to protest, and city officials have called for investigations of contract violations. “In the last three years, the cost of operation and maintenance of the system has increased drastically and the price of water has increased manyfold,” Jammu Anand of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation Employees Union said in a statement released by CAI. (CAI details other examples like this one from Nagpur in its 2012 report “Shutting the Spigot on Private Water: The Case for the World Bank to Divest.” Full disclosure: I am a strategic adviser to CAI.)
What advocates, including Naficy and Anand, are reminding the IFC today is that significant and steady infrastructure investment is the only way to foster safe, affordable and dependable water supplies. And that is done more effectively by the public sector than by private corporations. Water systems need treatment facilities and a mechanism to channel water from its source in a stable way, usually through pumps, piping to households and individual connections from main pipes to households. According to Naficy, “There is no end run around building a strong public sector and building strong public oversight.”
In addition, financing by the IFC, which is both investor and adviser on these projects, poses a conflict of interest. On the one hand, the IFC is advising governments to privatize the sector; on the other, it’s investing in the corporations getting those contracts. “It’s self-dealing: setting up a project that it’s in a position to profit from,” Naficy told me. When the IFC was established in 1956, it was expressly prohibited from purchasing corporate equity to avoid this sort of conflict, but the board amended this rule a few years later, allowing these kinds of deals. The IFC insists there are interior barriers to such conflicts of interest, even as its own annual report touts “client solutions that integrate investment and advice.” 

Opening up the spigot

Independent water advocates, from CAI to Anand’s group in India and others including the Focus on the Global Southnetwork, point to India today as evidence that privatized systems lead to underfunded infrastructure and unpredictable, often high prices. The IFC defends the private sector by claiming that these companies offer efficiency gains (PDF). But those gains come at the expense of lower-income households, advocates such as Naficy point out, as companies increase rates to subsidize their own profitability.  
There’s a growing backlash against these projects. In 2000, headlines around the globe documented protests in Bolivia’s third-largest city in response to the privatization of the city’s municipal water supply and against the multinational water giant Bechtel, eventually pushing the company out of the country. The IFC’s own complaint mechanism reports that 40 percent of all global cases from last year were about water, even though water projects are only a small fraction of what the IFC funds. In 2013, CAI and 70 advocates from around the globe released an open letter (PDF) to the World Bank Group calling for “an end of all support for private water, beginning with IFC divestment from all equity positions in water corporations.”
“Corporations don’t have a social or development mission,” Naficy told me. “Right now we’re funding development to prop up private projects, instead of putting the decisions for funding in the hands of governments that are accountable to people.”  
Clean and affordable water is the basis of life. Skyrocketing water prices, unsafe supply, failing infrastructure — these problems fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable among us. This is why public institutions, not private corporations, must lead the development of water systems and delivery. The World Bank Group is uniquely positioned to increase access to clean water for the billions who need it. Instead of using its position to line the pockets of water companies, it should support what is most needed: affordable, clean — and public — water for all.