The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again -- and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in the Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in "the Heart of Darkness." It isn't. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by "armies of business" to seize the metals that make our twenty-first century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.
Exxon Mobil (XOM), the leading U.S. oil company, said its third-quarter net profit was $14.83 billion, or $2.86 per share, up from $9.41 billion, or $1.70, a year earlier.
The company's earnings were buoyed by oil prices, which reached record highs in the quarter before declining. Oil prices were trading at $140.97 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and had fallen to $100.64 at the end.
TVNL Comment: What this article did not mention is that production and demand were down during this period. Think about that!
Seventy six American Nobel Prize winners endorsed Barack Obama in a strongly worded letter rebuking the Bush Administration's contempt for science.
During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country's scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant and declining federal support. The government's scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.
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.''
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.
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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