Created on Sunday, 20 January 2008 21:57
Written by Agence Global
The Endless Greed of Private Equity
by Ignacio Ramonet
hile critics of the economic horrors of globalisation argue, a new and even more brutal form of capitalism is in action. The new vultures are private equity companies: predatory investment funds with vast amounts of capital at their disposal and an enormous appetite for more.
Their names -- among them the Carlyle Group, KKR, the Blackstone Group, Colony Capital, Apollo Management, Cerberus Partners, Starwood Capital, Texas Pacific Group, Wendel, Euraze -- are still not widely known. And while still a secret they are getting their hands on the global economy.
Between 2002 and 2006, the capital raised by these funds from banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and the assets of the super-rich rose from $135bn to $515bn. Their financial power is phenomenal, more than $1,600bn, and they cannot be stopped.
Read more: Endless Greed and the Rise of Private Equity
Created on Sunday, 20 January 2008 21:12
Written by Press Release
Democracy Watch Seeks Pro Bono Lawyer to Help Challenge
Commissioner's Decision and Calls on Parliamentarians to Restore
"Apparent Conflict of Interest" Rule
by Democracy Watch
Read more: Mulroney-Schreiber Affair: Of Foxes and Henhouses
oday, Democracy Watch called on lawyers from across Canada to help it challenge the precedent-setting ruling issued Monday [January 7, 2008] by the federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson which concluded that, even when the Prime Minister's and Cabinet ministers' own actions and the actions of one of their close associates are in question, it is fine for them: to choose whether a judicial inquiry will take place; to set the scope of the inquiry; to choose the inquiry commissioner(s) who will judge them, and; to control a legal proceeding against another person who has made allegations about them.
Democracy Watch has written back to the Ethics Commissioner pointing out legal errors and requesting a reconsideration of her ruling, and questioning her lack of enforcement actions since she was appointed. If the Ethics Commissioner does not reconsider and correct the legal errors in her ruling by issuing an amended ruling, Democracy Watch plans to challenge her ruling in court and is seeking pro bono legal assistance to do so.
Created on Sunday, 20 January 2008 17:25
Written by David Swanson
A Letter from the Lurch
by David Swanson
heck out this letter I just received by Email:
The lurch was first mentioned in Dante's "Purgatorio," and I had always wanted to go there. What can I say? I'm an adventurer. That's one reason I joined the military in the first place. Well, that and all the lies about money and college and not having to serve in Iraq.
When I'd completed my third tour in Iraq and they stop-lossed me, it felt at least as bad as a ticket to purgatory. How could I stay still longer in this real world hell?
I'd hear about how supposedly if Congress were to cut off the funding for occupying Iraq it would be abandoning the troops and leaving us in the lurch, and I'd say to my buddies: "Wherever the lurch is, send me there now!"
Read more: Iraq: Letter from the Lurch
Created on Sunday, 20 January 2008 10:41
Read more: Front Lines of a War Crime
Ground Zero: On the Front Lines of a War Crime
by Chris Floyd
During the holidays, whilst I was sojourning in that strange land that used to be America (I don't know what it is now; some kind of cheapjack, funhouse-mirror simulacrum of itself, I guess), I missed one of the most important stories about the ongoing war crime in Iraq to come down the pike in a long time: As the Iraqis See It, by Michael Massing, in the New York Review of Books.
There are mountains of commentary (making Ossa like a wart) that I could and should say about this devastating article, but time and circumstances are against me at the moment. So let me just urge you to run to the piece and read all of it for yourself. If you want to know what's really going on in Iraq -- behind all the ludicrous and sickening conventional wisdom about the "success" of the "surge" (which we see now consists largely of two main elements: bribing and arming Sunni extremists, and bombing the hell out of civilian neighborhoods
) -- if you want to know what the Iraqis themselves think of what America (or the cheapjack, funhouse simulacrum of America) has wrought in their native land, then get thee not to a nunnery but to the NY Review of Books, pronto.
Created on Saturday, 19 January 2008 15:02
Langford Exchange: Of Misinformation and Conflicts of Interest
by Cheryl Bryce
The response below is to a letter Denise Blackwell submitted to the editor of a local paper, Goldstream Gazette. I donâ€™t think my response will be published but the message has been sent.
From: cheryl bryce
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 7:47 PM
Subject: Repsonse to: Misinformation mars interchange project
Dear Editor; I want to thank you, for publishing Denise Blackwellâ€™s letter. It demonstrates to the public the lack of transparency and accountability. I am sure people residing in Langford, Greater Victoria, BC and potentially internationally will write an opposing response to Blackwellâ€™s opinions.
However, one issue I would like to bring to light in reading Blackwellâ€™s letter is potential conflict of interest.
Blackwell fails to mention one of her titles in her letter, BC Archaeology Branch Administrator Assistant to Justin Batten, Director.
Read more: Of Misinformation and Conflicts of Interest
Created on Saturday, 19 January 2008 14:37
Written by David Halpin
Requiem for Principle and Law in Britain
by David Halpin
n the crossbenches stands Lord Boyce, former British Chief of Defence Staff. In a â€œdefenceâ€ debate with his peers on 22 November 2007, he spoke of blood on the deck of the Ministry of Defence; fellow warriors have been pleading for the weapons and leaving almost empty handed. Brown without an 'e' is in the frame.
Admiral the Lord Boyce - war profiteer
The register of peers' interests show that this ex-sailor [Lord Boyce] holds a remunerated directorship in VT Group plc. This little business sells warships to Her Majestyâ€™s Government, among other boys' toys. Hansard records no declaration of his possible interest in the hardware central to the debate.
Read more: Requiem for Principle and Law in Britain
Created on Saturday, 19 January 2008 13:18
Written by Agence Global
US Health Crisis and Our Children's Teeth
by Katrina vanden Heuvel
ast Spring, following the death of twelve-year old Deamonte Driver of Maryland whose untreated tooth infection spread to his brain, I wrote about the national epidemic of dental disease
and the lack of access to dental care faced by the poor and working class.
Read more: Down in the Mouth: A Crisis in Dental Health
Last month, an article in the New York Times
painted a horrifying picture of the state of dental care, where bootleggers sell dentures that would otherwise be unaffordable to many people missing teeth; where low Medicaid reimbursement rates perpetuate a dearth of participating dentists; where untreated cavities are a leading cause of kids missing school, people use Krazy Glue to reattach broken teeth, or swish rubbing alcohol to treat an infection, "burning the gums and creating ulcers."