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Friday, Oct 31st

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U.S. Treasury Program Shuns Banks That Need Cash Most

The U.S. government's $160 billion handout to banks from Niagara Falls to Beverly Hills is going mostly to lenders that need it least, putting weaker rivals at risk of being shut down or taken over, analysts say.

``This has the unintended effect of making the strong stronger and the weak weaker,'' said Gray Medlin, founder of Carson Medlin Co., a Raleigh, North Carolina, investment bank focused on banking deals. ``Banks that are getting bad exams and are under intense pressure from regulators won't be successful in applying.''

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Tough times: Congress grew 13 percent richer in 2007

Times are tough, but don't worry about most members of Congress making ends meet.

Their collective wealth grew by 13 percent last year, leaving them in better shape than most Americans to make it through an economic downturn, according to a new analysis of personal financial reports.

Overall, nearly two of every three senators are millionaires.

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The “Dirty Little Secret” Of the US Bank Bailout

In an unusually frank article published in Saturday's New York Times, the newspaper's economic columnist, Joe Nocera, reveals what he calls "the dirty little secret of the banking industry"--namely, that "it has no intention of using the government bailout money to make new loans."

As Nocera explains, the plan announced October 13 by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to hand over $250 billion in taxpayer money to the biggest banks, in exchange for non-voting stock, was never really intended to get them to resume lending to businesses and consumers--the ostensible purpose of the bailout. Its essential aim was to engineer a rapid consolidation of the American banking system by subsidizing a wave of takeovers of smaller financial firms by the most powerful banks.

As Nocera notes: "Read that answer as many times as you want--you are not going to find a single word in there about making loans to help the American economy."

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Massive UN vote in support of lifting US embargo on Cuba

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for the 17th year in a row in favor of lifting the 46-year-old US trade embargo on communist-ruled Cuba, as Havana hoped for better ties with a new US administration.

Some 185 of the assembly's 192 members approved a resolution, which reiterated a "call upon all states to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures (such as those in the US embargo) in conformity with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law."

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Did Your Representative Cause the Financial Crisis?

In 2000, Congress passed a law barring states from regulating credit default swaps under their gambling and “bucket shop” laws. This set the stage for the market in “financial derivatives” that are a big part of what is causing the economic meltdown today.

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F.D.A. Criticized for Assurances on Chemical in Plastic

A scientific panel has issued a blistering report against the Food and Drug Administration, saying the agency ignored important evidence in reassuring consumers about the safety of the controversial chemical bisphenol-A.

The panel, in a report issued this week, did not draw any conclusions about the safety of the chemical, known as BPA. But it criticized the F.D.A. for ignoring crucial studies and using what it said were flawed methods in reaching its conclusions. 

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Defence of free speech must be absolute: advocate

Borovoy has been particularly vocal in denouncing what he views as misuse of the country's human rights commissions.

He notes two Alberta cases that have attracted media attention -- that of Ezra Levant, who is appearing this month before the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission for publishing the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and that of Rev. Stephen Boissoin, who wrote to a Red Deer newspaper claiming that gays, among other things, are "just as immoral" as pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps.

Levant and Boissoin are accused of promoting hatred towards Muslims and gays, respectively.

Borovoy believes neither case belongs in front of a human rights commission. He speaks from a position of intimacy on the issue, since he helped establish the commissions in the 1960s to stop discrimination against minority groups in the employment and housing sectors.

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Earth on course for eco 'crunch'

The document contends that our demands on natural resources overreach what the Earth can sustain by almost a third.

It says that more than three quarters of the world's population lives in countries where consumption levels are outstripping environmental renewal.

This makes them "ecological debtors", meaning that they are drawing - and often overdrawing - on the agricultural land, forests, seas and resources of other countries to sustain them. 

TVNL Comment: Keep having kids!

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Supporter outside McCain rally chants 'bomb Obama'

"Bomb Obama!" he said repeatedly. "Get rid of him," he told the cameraman. "I've had a number of people in the...when he gets in the White House...(mimicks the sound of a gun firing)." The exchange was reported to Pottsville police and the Secret Service. Pottsville Police Captain Richard Wojciechowsky reportedly said it "did not sound serious."

"I'd never vote for a black man," said a Democratic McCain supporter. "[I don't] want to sound racist here," said another participant, "but I do not want a black man running my country."

"Catholics must not vote for Obama," a protest sign read. "They will be ex-communicated from the Catholic Church."

TVNL Comment: This nation does not need a revolution...it needs a civil war!

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