257 by ashrafp

VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 11

									                                             April 1, 2011
                                 AABR Business Bulletin (Vol. 129/No. 257)

I. General
. The Economic Center for Economic Growth in the U. of Georgia Terry College of Business reports the state
minority buying power with a number of notable findings. The 10 states with the largest Hispanic models in
order are: CA ($265 billion), TX ($176 billion), FL ($107 billion), NY ($81 billion), IL ($44 billion), NJ
($39 billion), AZ ($34 billion), CO ($22 billion), NM ($20 billion, and GA ($17 billion).
    . The top 10 states, as ranked by rate of growth of Hispanic buying power during the past decade are: SD
(253%), ND (237%), AR (229%), AL (228%), SC (226%), ME (222%), TN (220%), WV (211%), MS
(208%), and MD (204%).
    . The 10 states with the largest African-American markets, in order, are: NY ($91 billion), TX ($72
billion), GA ($66 billion), CA $64 billion), FL (63 billion), MD ($57 billion) IL ($46 billion), NC ($44
billion), VA $42 billion) and NJ ($36 billion).
    . The 10 states with largest Asian consumer markets, in order, are: CA ($172 billion), NY ($54 billion),
TX (38 billion), NJ ($34 billion), HI ($23 billion), IL ($20 billion), WA ($18 billion), FL ($17 billion), VA
($17 billion), and MA ($14 billion).
    . Native-Americans companies comprise 1% of the population and control $67.7 billion in disposable
income. Their buying power is expected to grow to $90.4 billion in 2015, an increase of 34%. The growth in
the buying power is supported by rapid population growth and growth in the number of Native American-
owned businesses. Despite fast-paced growth, Native-Americans account for 0.6% of the nation’s buying
power which is up slightly from 0.5% in 1990. (Asia Life Magazine, Nov 15, 2010)

. It’s a tale of two Americas: one gorging on gluttony, and the other barely able to survive. The safety net for
those in need is being cut with a machete knife as the richest among us get richer. From Nov to Dec 2010,
487k Americans were added to the food stamp program, while the stock market continued to soar and has
rallied nearly 100% from the low reached in March 2009.
    . Meanwhile, big CEO bonuses are back big time. CEO bonuses at 80 major corporations jumped a
median of 30.5%, the biggest gain in the last 3 years, in a study of the first batch of corporate CEO
disclosures by consulting firm Hay Group for WSJ. (Mark Karlis, Editor of BuzzFlash, Truthout)

. Federal tax revenues in 2010 were much smaller than in 2000. Total individual tax receipts fell 30% in
real terms. Because the population kept growing, income taxes per capita plummeted. Individual income taxes
came to just $2,900 per capita in 2010, down 36% from more than $4,500 in 2000. (David Cay Johnson,
Tax.com)

. Besides the control of Corporate America of members of Congress, it is also evident that Israel exercises the
same control. American weapons are being sent to attack civilians to support their “ethnic cleansing,” more
aggressive than that perpetrated by apartheid South Africa on its black population.
   . What is their hold on America to continue receiving aid as if it is a mendicant nation like Haiti, when it is
the 5th most powerful military on earth, the 3rd largest exporter of arms, a nation with no debt and massive
wealth, whose citizens control 40% of the world’s resources, while schools in America are being closed and
millions are homeless. Evidently our members of Congress are cheap to succumb to such bribes. (Gordon
Duff, Veterans Today)

. A strong far-right movement has re-emerged and what united it is the age-old American doctrine of
Nativism, born out of fear of some dark outsider sneaking in to steal the white man’s homeland (stolen from
the red man) and his hegemony. (James Ridgeway, Guardian UK)

. To fight simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration had decided to outsource
virtually every facet of America’s military operations, from building and staffing Army bases to hiring
mercenaries to provide security for diplomats abroad. After GWB took office, private military contracts
soared from $145 billion in 2001 to $390 billion in 2008. Federal contracting rules were routinely skirted,
and military industrial giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin cashed in as war profiteering went from war
crime to business model. (Guy Lawson, Rolling Stone)

. Gaddafi’s smooth-taking son Saif (one of 9 boys and 1 girl) was finally exposed. Through American
consultants, he provided openness at home, counter-terrorism abroad and headed a major charity. But last
month, the world saw a different man, a crude version of the cosmetic, well-polished act of a politician. He
showed himself to be a ruthless son of a brutal, desperate dictator determined to retain power after 41 years.
   . Gaddafi’s tribe is the most powerful in Sirte, the Mediterranean city of 150k which is guarded by an elite
unit led by one of his sons, but the rebel’s chances look better every day since the uprising began in mid-Feb
with the aid of US and European air strikes against Gaddafi’s 41-year rule.
   . Handcuffed bodies of 20 Firjan army officers were found by rebel forces when they captured the oil port
of Brega early last month. It is presumed that the 20 refused to fire on the rebels angering many members of
the tribe, to welcome the arrival of the rebels. A failed coup against Gaddafi in the 1990s was led by a
member of the Firjan. Other major tribes in Sirte are the Zayaynah, Hamamlah, Hassour and Meaadan
who have so far remained neutral. (AOL News)

. Syrian troops have entered the northern city of Latakia, keeping tensions high in the country despite reform
pledges by the embattled government, including the lifting of an emergency law in place since 1963.
Authorities have accused Palestinian refugees from a nearby camp of wanting to fuel sectarian strife in
Latakia, home to 455k Christians, Sunni Muslims and Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
   . Israel has deployed for the first time a cutting edge defense system to try to halt a recent surge in attacks
from the neighboring Gaza Strip to provide increased security for Israelis.
   . Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s ousted president, has been put under house arrest along with his family,
according to an Egyptian military statement. They would not be allowed to leave the country.
   . Talks at ending the political standoff in Yemen between Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition
have stalled. But the ruling party’s governing committee recommended forming a new government to draft a
new constitution on the basis of a parliamentary system.
   . The Islamist opposition and other groups in Jordan called for the ouster of PM Maruf Bakhit, urging
sweeping political reform, including an amended electoral law, leading to a parliamentary government and
elected premier.
    . Bahrain’s main Shia opposition (Wefaq) has welcomed Kuwait’s offer to mediate in talks with the
Sunni al-Khalifa family-run government to end a political crisis gripping the Gulf Island kingdom. The
presence of foreign troops would be a thorny matter in the discussions. (Al Jazeera)

. Qatar denied press reports that it had seized two Iranian boats carrying weapons in the Gulf amid mounting
tensions in the strategic region. Sunni-ruled Bahrain accused Shiite-led Iran of meddling in its affairs and
elements of Bahrain’s opposition of links with foreign powers.
   . Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan urged Syria to announce reforms soon. It has a 500 miles long border with
Syria. The chief of the National Intelligence Agency of Turkey (MIT) visited Syria Sunday for talks and
Turkey was closely watching developments in the country. (Al Arabiya)

. Saudi Arabia is set to receive 84 new F-15E Strike Eagles, advanced fighter aircraft designed for air-to-air
and air-to-ground combat mission. Under the US Air Force’s proposal, Saudi pilots will learn to fly these
advance fighters at Mountain Home AFB (Idaho) for 5 years, from 2014 to 2019, with the possibility of a
longer commitment left open. The arrangement is not yet final.
   . Opposition to this plan are the events of 9-11-01 when a Saudi pilot trained to fly in the US slammed a
Boeing 757 jetliner into the Pentagon, killing more than 180 people. Then came the announcement to build
the “Ground Zero Mosque,” 2 blocks where 7 Saudi terrorists killed more than 2,700 people. (Al Jazeera)

. Attacking labor unions, waging war on women’s rights, defending NPR, repealing healthcare reform; the
anti-worker, anti-women, anti-Obama for ’08 agenda just prove that their priorities are seriously flawed. How
is this supposed to create jobs?

. Immigration agents have arrested 130 illegal immigrants in northern VA as part of a 3-day sting operation
targeting future fugitives. Of the arrests, 85 were for felony crimes, including rape, assaults and child sex, and
11 of the 85 had been previously deported from the US. (AP)

. One year ago, the media was obsessed with the Tea Party protests in WDC. Report of racist insults and
phlegm being hurled at members of Congress make many open their eyes to the realities of the new
Republican foot soldiers. Now there’s an even bigger movement formed around a distinct threat to the
American tradition of collective bargaining.

. As northern states like WI seek to eliminate collective bargaining rights from public service workers, we
should examine what it’s like to work in states that don’t have basic human rights. While right-wing pundits
declare how great it is to work without collective bargaining, the reality is workers and working-class
communities are getting a raw deal.
   . With states likely to balance their budgets on the wake of a Wall Street-triggered recession, the path of
least resistance is to take always from regular working folks and the services we depend on like schools,
hospitals and road maintenance. It’s the second round to taxpayer bailout for business. Corporate America is
well connected with the Chamber of Commerce and industry lobbying associations to cutting deals in their
interest, while public employees without collective bargaining rights are alone—by law!
    . The right to bargain a contract goes beyond fighting poverty among state workers. A union contract
means a better wage. There are currently 11 states that bar collective bargaining to teachers whose salaries are
9.1% lower than their peers from states that allow it. It also provides a roadblock to corporate takeover of
government services and service cuts to vulnerable communities who otherwise have no voice.

 . Privatization is a top goal of corporations which look at spending on schools, hospitals and road
maintenance and see easy profit government spending on schools close to $562 billion in 2007. When they
get a contract, they outsource that work to the lowest bidder and pocket the rest. That’s what privatization is
all about. Without public employees contract, who will monitor discriminatory budget cuts like we’ve seen in
NC, a state without collective bargaining rights? In NC, the state has gone disproportionately after communi-
ties of color disproportionately cutting jobs and services. Hospitals that serve and employ a majority white
population have seen far fewer cuts than hospitals that are majority-African by a ratio of 2:1. (Leah Fried,
union organizer with United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America for 12 years)

. Sarah Palin has gone from the most divisive figure in American politics to the most polarizing within the
GOP. Polls that show her path to the nomination keep getting steeper. The media is caught on the slow
motion implosion of her popularity and with it her prospective presidential campaign. Her support continues
to erode. Beneath the enabled self-promotion was a startling lack of preparation for a serious presidential
campaign. (John Avlon, The Daily Beast)

. Award-winning cartoonist Tm Tomorrow depicts the world according to Tea Partiers, whose idea of
reducing the deficit is to avoid raising taxes on the rich and instead target public-sector employees.

. Portugal’s government has just fallen in a dispute over austerity proposals. Irish bond yields have topped
10% for the first time. The British government has just marked its economic forecast down and its deficit
forecast, especially what do these events have in common. They’re all evidence that cutting spending in the
face of high unemployment is a mistake. (Paul Krugman)

. Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc. They light up
when switched on or when they ring, release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition. Four rules for safe
refueling: turn off engine; don’t smoke; don’t use cell phone—leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off; don’t
reenter your vehicle during refueling.
    . Petroleum Research Institute has researched 150 cases of these fires—1) Out of 150 cases almost all of
them were women. 2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was
still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started as a result of static.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes. 4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished.
That is why they are never involved in these types of fires. 5) Never ever use cell phones when pumping gas.
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges. 7) There
were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of
makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer. 8)
17 fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.
Never get back into vehicle while filling with gas. (Bob Renkes, P.R.I.)

. A letter mailed from Hyde Park, NY arrived in Gloucester, MA last week, long after its intended recipient, a
Mrs. S.E. Lawrence, had died. A common garden snail could have made the 175-mile journey in 6 1/2 years.
Instead it took 66. Billy Baker, Boston Globe)

II. Private Sector
. 2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The GOP has degenerated into a Party of
Brown Shirts. Voter frustration is worsening the economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are
likely to bring the Republicans to power in 2012. With these would come the doctrines of executive primacy
over Congress, the Judiciary, law & the Constitution, and America’s rightful supremacy over the world. The
idea is passé that government in a democracy serves the will of the people If this noble notion is still found in
civic books, it will soon be edited out.
    . The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the Wikileaks saga is that American discourse consists
of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The various mendacity of the US Government knows
no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or
death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to
establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy. (Dr. Paul C. Roberts)

. More than 4 million accounts have already moved away from the nation’s largest banks and the trend will
only increase, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm in Lake Bluff, IL. Previously large
banks with over $50 billion in assets held 45% of the 130 million consumer accounts in 2009. That number
has been decreasing dramatically with BofA losing 400k accounts in 2010 alone.
   . The company predicts an additional 7 to 9 million accounts moving by the end of 2011. This trend
should plateau in 2012 after the nation’s largest banks see between 13 and 17 million accounts moving to
local community banks and credit unions in just 3 short years. If its predictions come to fruition, the largest
financial firms will only hold a third of all free checking accounts by end of 2012, a large drop from the 45%
they held in 2009.
   . It didn’t long for big banks to come up with ways to swindle money from their customers. BoA, Wells
Fargo, JP Morgan Chase have already begun experimenting with new fee structures, e.g., maintaining a
minimum balance, enrolling in direct deposit, using debit card a certain number of times each month,
eliminating free checking accounts, etc. Customers are beginning to take notice, but banks blame Congress
(“Congress made us do it”) for their shenanigans. (Sarah Ackerman, Move Your Money Project)

. GE is so good at paying their taxes; the government pays them. In 2010 it reported global profits of $14.2
billion, $5.1 billion of which came from the US. Using a combination of offshore accounts and aggressive
lobbying, GE managed to get a benefit of $3.2 billion. It spent $200 million in lobbying in the last decade.
Because of what they’re doing, the nation’s tax receipts went from 30% in the 1950’s to 66% in 2009. A
prison term is too good for these crooks and their lobbyists. Whom do they expect to pay for the benefits
they enjoy as Americans? (David Kacienewski, The Daily Beast)

. Foreign bankers, e.g., BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered & Morgan Stanley, fled Tokyo as Japan’s nuclear
crisis worsened, scrambling for commercial and charter flights out of the country and into major cities in the
region. One operation cost $160k to fly 14 people from Tokyo to Hong Kong.
    . The Foreign Office recommended that all Brits leave the area for their own safety. At least, 17k UK
citizens live in Japan, the vast majority in Tokyo. The plea came as the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant
worsened amid concerns of a radiation leak.
    . The US Navy advised families on two US bases to limit activities and shut off external ventilation after
detecting higher-than-normal doses of radiation. The US military ordered troops to stay at least 50 miles away
from the crippled Japanese nuclear plant and started prescribed medication ahead of higher-risk relief mission
amid concerns about radiation.

. The VT House of Representatives passed a bill calling for a single-payer system, putting the state on a path to
become the first in the nation to adopt universal access to healthcare. Lawmakers voted 92 to 49 after nearly 2
days of debate. (Chris Garofolo, Brattleboro Reformer)

. US banks are resisting change that would make it easier to cut off the cash flow of dictators and corrupt
politicians. In particular, they are fighting against a proposal from the International Financial Task Force that
would require banks to identify the person(s) who ultimately profits from the account. (Currently US banks
allow accounts to be opened in the name of trusts without identifying the individual beneficiary.) Banks say
that type of screening of climate would be too costly. (Deborah Ball, WSJ)

. States are being told they can fix their budget and have money left over by leasing their infrastructure for 50,
75 or even 90 years. It sounds great and too good to be true. The truth is that rather than making money on
just tolls and fees, private contractors make their money through big tax breaks and by squeezing state and
local governments for payments for the life of the contracts. (Ellen Damien, Truthout)

. WI has no money, according to Gov. Scott Walker. In his attempt to end collective bargaining in the state
and in this country, it has enough money to hire State Sen. John Hyne’s mistress (Valerie Cass). A lot of
things in WI, especially those pertaining to Walker’s State Senate henchmen appear to be temporary. Yeah?
(Fok News)
    . Walker’s school-related proposal includes an 8% cut in aid to school (about $835 million). He wants to
reduce their property tax authority by an average $550 per pupil, a move that makes it more difficult for
schools to compensate for lost money. (Dinesh Rabe, HuffPost Politics)
    . Newly-released emails show everything, from taking away computers to denying a year of service in the
state retirement system, was considered to punish the 14 WI Democrats who fled to IL for 3 weeks to block
passage of a bill taking away union bargaining rights (Scott Bauer, HP)
. Much of the entire Koch political machine is geared towards ensuring that Koch Industries never has to
compensate the people and ecosystems damaged by Koch Industries’ pollution. Koch front groups—from the
Tea Party groups to think tanks-have diligently promote KI’s bottom line by denying global warming,
fighting regulations on Koch’s cancer-causing chemicals, and snuffing out investigations with Koch’s
environmental crimes. (Lee Fang, Think Progress)

. Google and China are at odds once again. China is blocking its Gmail service after users reported difficulty
gaining access. The government has been particularly strict with censorship since protests broke out in the
Middle East. Last year Google moved its Chinese language internet server from China to Hong Kong.

. Fox News coverage of recent protests in WI was rife with falsehoods about unions and attacks on pro-union
protesters. This continues a long pattern of smears and fabrications that characterizes Fox News’ campaign to
scapegoat and vilify labor unions. ((Media Matters for Americans)

. How do you assess these new GOP governors, e.g. Tom Corbett of PA who admits to not emulating Scott
Walker of WI but supports union workers if they get out of union membership? He and Walker justify
balancing their budget on the backs of public employees by calling it “shared sacrifice.” But his newly
installed staffs do not share this sacrifice with their six-figure paychecks which are higher than those paid
similar positions under former PA Gov. Ed Rendell. ((Linn Washington, Jr.)

. BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, commonly referred to as “Gulf Oil Spill,” but liquid oil wasn’t the
only hydrocarbon that gushed out of the Macondo well for 84 days. Up to 40% of the leak was gas, mostly
methane invisible to the naked eye, reported scientists who published their findings in Nature GeoScience.
(Lisa Song, Solve Climate News)

. South Korea started checking radiation levels for people arriving from Japan to better protect public health.
The Korea Institute of National Safety said residual radiation gates have been set up at Incheon and Gimpo
airports near Seoul to be able to detect even the minutest traces of radiation.
    . Energy Secretary Steven Chu should press ahead with approving construction licenses for new nuclear
plants despite Japan’s nuclear crisis. The nuclear power explosion and radiation blast should not delay the
expansion of nuclear power in the US.
    . Lobbyists with the Nuclear Energy Institute and some of the US’ largest energy firms are holding
meetings with key lawmakers and briefings for staff members to tamp down talks of restrictions in response
to Japan’s nuclear disaster. Most Republicans remain enthusiastic supporters of nuclear power even as they
push for cuts at the Office of Nuclear Energy. One bill with 50 co-sponsors calls for 200 new nuclear power
plants by2040. (Earthhome.us)

. NATO will take over the no-fly zone from the US (and silenced the pseudo-patriots in this country) even
though the deal revealed sharp divisions in NATO and US warplanes will continue flying combat missions
against Libyan ground forces. (Paul Richter et al., Los Angeles Times)
   . Some US allies have openly called for Gaddafi’s overthrow from within. France has gone further,
recognizing the rebels as Libya’s legitimate representatives, but other nations are hesitant. Talks among
NATO powers (toothless warriors) over what to do next (what else is new) broke down almost immediately
over the scope of the effort. Some nations want to strike the remaining strongholds on the ground (as long as
others do the actual lifting) while others might consider an arrangement that allows him to stay in some
capacity. Too many cooks spoil the broth. (Steven L. Myers, NYT)

. A new study argues that credit card debt fell last year, dropping to the lowest level in 8 years only because
of consumer defaults and bank write-offs. There is some evidence Americans may have taken on more credit
card debt than they paid. (Cardhub.com of the Federal Reserve)

. Some call it labor’s swan song, others call it labor’s wake-up call. Right now it’s a grass fire spreading
across the upper Midwest.

. While corporations can live forever, exist on several places at the same time, change their identities at will,
and even chop off parts of themselves, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (John Roberts) had said they
are “persons” under the Constitution with constitutional rights and protection accorded to human beings.
Once given this key, corporations began to assert the power that came with their newfound rights. (Thom
Hartmann, author of Unequal Protection)
   . You do not have to be a Supreme Court Justice to understand that a corporation is not a person. Did
ideology play a role in this stupid decision? This decision will be remembered as the death of democracy in
this country, the corporate takeover of its institutions, and the slow but sure demise of the middle class and
America’s working man and woman.

. A new study shows that BofA plans to donate ten restored home to Detroit police officers willing to move
into one of two designated new neighborhoods (Boston Edison and East English Village). It is meant to draw
police officers and firefighters back into the neighborhood they service. Many have moved to the suburbs in
1999 when residency requirement for officers was ended. (Maxwell Strachan, HP)

. The arrest of a known white supremacist in the attempted bombing of Spokane’s MLK Jr. Day Unity March
underscores the need for the world’s first academic program focused on hate studies at Gonzaga University. It
will present the 2nd International Conference on the subject on April 6-9. (John Shuford, Institute for Hate
Studies, Gonzaga University)

. The recent acquisition of eCommerce sites by Google in a broad way of businesses raises some serious anti-
trust issues. Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA has also received months of scrutiny from anti-trust
regulators. (HP)

. Gov. Haley Barbour(R-MS) is separating himself from his potential 2012 rivals by endorsing cuts to defense
spending and questioning the large US presence in Afghanistan. This is the only courageous man from the
pack who has shown the American people his true color.

III. Federal Government

. With the economy no better off for having borrowed trillions to stabilize the criminal financial institutions,
the national debt ceiling is rapidly approaching. As some Republicans begin to float the notion of blocking
their extension of credit, the Treasury Dept, Democrats in Congress and Ben Bernanke issued apocalyptic
warnings clearly showing how pathetically fragile the US economy is.
   . In the fall of 2008, during the lead up to the TARP bailout of the financial industry, Treasury Secretary
Henry Paulson warned Congress that martial law will be imposed if they fail to pass the multi-trillion dollar
looting of the taxpayer. Despite the opposition of the public to the bailout, the blackmail worked as the banks
got their money. It worked then, why not try again?

. Today (3/16) we will spend roughly $325 million fighting in Afghanistan; $20 million was spent just during
Gen. Petraeus testimony in Congress. This month we are on track to spend more than $10 billion in
Afghanistan. This year we expect to spend $120 billion fighting the war there. For what? (Rep. Mike
Honda, D-CA, HuffPost Politics on Gen. Petreaus’ Prpaganda War on Congress)
    . The majority of Afghans decry that their basic security and basic services have worsened substantially
while the majority of populations in US and Afghanistan want the troops to leave. Ten years into this war and
we have nothing to show for it. Every 2 or 3 years, the Pentagon comes up with a new strategy to justify
another round of funding and forces. All these lives lost for nothing while the Pentagon lies to the American
people all the time.
    . Their latest strategy is to give local people cash and weapons by calling it the “Afghan Local Police.”
What a lie! It’s nothing more than a US commander handing out cash and guns at his discretion. We pit one
tribe against another hoping to conquer them when they’re divided. The Republicans want military bases built
there as part of their agenda to build an American empire. We were defeated in Vietnam by pajama-clad
peasants because they were defending their land from the invaders and occupiers. We have invaded again, this
time Afghanistan (and Iraq) and never learned the lesson of Vietnam. The biggest threat to our survival (not
just national security) is our debt. How do you fight a foreign war with borrowed money?

. Since regaining power, House Republicans have tried to put insurance companies back in charge of
healthcare, balance our budget on the back of families, send Big Bird a pink slip and let polluters and oil
companies have their way. They’re trying to let the same bankers and corporate criminals that got us into this
mess off the hook by tearing away at Wall Street reform. Democrats are defending 23 Senate seats in 2010;
Republicans 10. If the GOP gains 4 seats, their slash and burn approach will win, and God help all of us.

. One of the most startling exit polls results to emerge from the 2010 midterm elections was the finding that
35% of voters who (correctly blamed the economic collapse on Wall Street) actually voted Republican by a
margin of 56-42%. Since the elections, the Republicans keep on demonstrating they are better friends of the
banks than the ambivalent and easy-to-scare Democrats. Under the guise of reducing the budget deficit, the
GOP House and Senate budget would dramatically reduce funding for agencies that regulate Wall Street.
   . Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) keeps inserting himself into law enforcement proceedings trying to block the
proposed legal settlement of abuses in mortgage foreclosures and documentation put forward by the 50 state
attorneys-general. He wouldn’t last a day in office if he is representing the better-informed northeast. He
definitely earned his money from these large political contributions from the mortgage industry.

. Would you consider Michelle Bachmann a serious candidate for the presidency? The woman cannot even
pass 8th grade American History. The famous “shot heard around the world” was in Lexington & Concord,
MA, not NH; the founders of the US Constitution did not work tirelessly until slavery was no more in the US;
the people who were captured at gunpoint, chained together with no privacy, dignity and minimal food, caged
for months in inhuman conditions and then sold as property, often separated from their parents and children,
did not come to the US for the “thrill” of it; she blamed the Hoot-Smalley Tariff allegedly passed by FDR for
causing the Depression when it passed under Republican Herbert Hoover and the Depression was in full
swing when FDR was elected years later; it was back in the 1970’s when the swine flu broke out but not under
Democrat Jimmy Carter when it was under Republican Gerald Ford. Idiot! How did she ever pass American
History? And she blames the mainstream media for her mistakes because its 3,400 members are part of the
Obama press contingent. Imbecile! (Eric Alterman, The Daily Beast)

. The “Hoot-Smalley Tariff” was really the Smoot-Hawley Tariff co-authored by Republicans Sen. Reed
Smooth of UT and Rep. Willis Hawley of OR and signed into law by Herbert Hoover in 1931, raising tariffs
on over 20k imported goods at record levels. When FDR took office unemployment was already at 25%.
   . Does her appearance in IA open the door for Bachmann/Palin in 2012? Or, is it 2102? Is she retarded?
Bachmann exhibits total mythology, the idea that the past can be changed to fit our own pathological
delusions. It was what was done in Europe before WW II. The growth of this mythology then was not
challenged by the depth of knowledge and dissent as it is today but Bachmann (and Palin) still try it.
   . They believe their ideology is correct regardless of the outcome that it doesn’t matter because they must
be right. Forget the idea that laissez faire economics may have or may not have played a role in the crash of
’29. The only way to believe that this was correct is to change history and find those willing to hear it.
   . The swine flu cases of 1976 forever changed confidence in public health pronouncements from the
government and helps further cynicism about federal policy makers that continues to this day.

. A prominent GOP fundraiser (Timothy Durham) was charged with defrauding 5k investors more than $200
million through a Ponzi scheme. He took $54 million for himself; gave $800k to the GOP and candidates in
IN, including $200k to Gov. Mitch Daniels. (NYT)

. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) raises doubts whether the US is meeting its goals in its 3-core elements of
strategy for Afghanistan that Gen. David Petraeus has identified, e.g., a military effort that creates the
conditions for a transition, a civilian surge that reinforces positive action, and an effective partnership with
Pakistan. She cites widespread corruption in Afghanistan, serious domestic instability and safe havens for
terrorists along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. (Amanda Terkel, HP)

. The Obama administration is seeking to force the nation’s five largest mortgage banks to reduce monthly
payments for as many as 3 million distressed homeowners in as little as 6 months as part of an agreement to
settle accusations of improper foreclosures and violations of consumer protection laws. (S. Nasiripour, HP)

. The Republican spending cuts come from 12% of the budget known as „non-defense discretionary
spending.‟ It‟s not Medicare, Medicaid, big banks like the mortgage-interest deduction, military spending or
Social Security—not any major contributor to the deficit. Rather it‟s a hodgepodge of programs for education,
retraining workers, housing the homeless, investing in infrastructure and so forth. This part of the budget
tends to be lean, as politicians continually return to it to make cuts. Why? Because its beneficiaries tend to be
politically weak—kids rather than seniors, or unemployed workers rather than corporate titans.

. Beyond tapping into anxiety about mounting government spending, Republicans use their majority to attack
Democrats for failing to focus on job creation. Now Democrats are pointing out that 13 weeks into the new
GOP-led House, there haven’t been any GOP job proposals.

. All this wrangling in Washington is likely to produce what economists say we need: growth now and a plan
to tackle long-term deficits soon. But the reality is quite the opposite. There’s a good chance politicians will
destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs this year without doing anything at all about the long-term deficit
problem. There’s a win-win on the table but there’s also a lose-lose. It looks like we may choose the latter.
    . Most economists don’t think we should start cutting spending until 2012. The recovery is simply too
weak, the labor market too fragile and businesses too restrained in their hiring for the government to slash
spending on goods, services and workers. Eventually the private sector will pick up the slack so that
Washington can focus on deficit reduction and debate whether to subsidize NPR. Until then, the government
needs to keep supporting the recovery. (Ezra Klein, WP)
    . A Bloomberg poll last month showed that letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire was the single
most popular way to reduce the budget deficit. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll in the same month found
that financing deficit reduction with surtax on millionaires is similarly popular. Republicans may not want to
talk about raising taxes on the wealthy, but many other people do.

. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is known as one of the Senate’s bellwether and one of its most moderate
Republicans, but moderate Republicans suffered some surprising defeats in last year’s primaries. After the
defeat of longtime centrist Mike Castle (R-DE) by TP-backed candidate Christine O’Donnell, Snowe may
well consider adopting a harder line. (Amanda Terkel, HP)

. The dominant response for many Republicans to their current choices in 2012 remains one of discontent. It
has been this way for months, largely because each of the frontrunners has a major flaw many think would
keep them from either getting out of the primary or from beating BHO should they win the nomination.
    . A GOP successful fundraiser said there are between 500 to 700 “whales” who can bundle anywhere
between $25k and $250k for a candidate. About 1/3 of these people support Mitt Romney but much of the rest
of the group is waiting for an alternate candidate to emerge.
     . Newt Gingrich lost the leadership test by his flip-flopping on whether or not to intervene in Libya. When
will he get it in his hard head that he is not fit to be president, especially because of his acerbic attack against
BHO which make it un-presidential even though it’s read meat for his ignorant and xenophobic and pseudo-
Christian base. Those who can, do; those who can’t, like Newt, explore the possibilities of the presidency.
     . Sarah Palin talks from both corners of her mouth. She could decide to run, but she knows she won’t win.
But there is money to be made from the continuous exposure. However, she is street-savvy enough to know
that there is no chance for her to win. She’ll keep dangling to her base that she may run but that’s how far her
campaign will go. Michelle Bachmann, with her loud mouth, has a better chance to garner more votes than
Sarah, with her role in the Tea Party. But she has no chance of winning either, not in 2012, not in 2016, and
not in 2020. If either of the women becomes the standard bearer, it’s goodbye, GOP!

. The government is projecting a slight cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits next year, the
first increase since 2009. But for most beneficiaries, rising Medicare premiums threaten to wipe out any
increase in payments for the Social Security payments each month.
    . It’s a tough situation for retirees who lost much of their savings when the stock market collapsed, who
lost value in their homes when the housing market crashed, and who can’t find work because the job market is
weak or they’re in poor health.

. The Affordable Healthcare Act is a start and an important one towards a healthcare system that works better
for all Americans. If we look at what needs to be fixed, why the healthcare in the US is failing a growing
number of Americans, we will want to continue the journey. (Wendell Potter, RSN)

. Efforts to either move or replace their stand-alone 2012 presidential primaries to save millions of dollars,
e.g., AL saves $4 million; CA $100 million, etc. come about as Republican and Democratic parties implement
new rules to limit the number of states voting before March 1.

. The fact that Elizabeth Warren is so well qualified is the reason she’s attacked so fiercely. Nothing could
be worse, from the point of view of bankers and politicians who serve them, than to have consumers served
by someone who knows what she’s doing and has the personal credibility to stand up to pressure. Whether the
Obama administration will see the war on E.W. for what it is, remains to be seen, a second chance to change
public perceptions. (Paul Krugman, NYT)
   . WSJ editorials paint Elizabeth Warren and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an
immensely powerful, unaccountable organization. The nascent agency is assuming the consumer protection
duties currently exercised by regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency. Those recent attacks are traced to Mary Kissel who worked for Goldman Sachs in both New York
and London as a fixed income research and capital market specialist. (Zach Carter, HP)

. Thirty-three million Americans listen each day to National Pubic Radio affiliate stations, and 27 million
tune into at least one program distributed by NPR. Its long-form news shows that they actually explore issues
in all their depths and complexity, are very popular with large segments of the American public. And they are
available to everyone. It has ardent fans in every part of the population and every section of the country. In
fact, 99% of Americans have access to an NPR affiliate. The network has been a huge success.
    . Why do Republicans hate NPR? They hate any successful public sector, non-corporate venture. It flies
in the face of radical conservative belief that a private sector always does things better. It was established by a
public corporation which provides a vital service that was not available through privately-owned radio
stations. Long-form, serious news coverage was considered “commercially unviable.” Now it turns out to
have created one of the high-caliber news organizations in the world.
    . Republicans hate the idea that NPR is drawing listeners owned by corporations like Clear Channel.
They are all about competition until private corporations have to compete with public sector ventures that can
provide superior services for less money and don’t have to pay millions in profits to satisfy their corporate
task masters.
    . NPR is all about maximizing the quality of news coverage for its own sake. Its founders bet that there
was a large audience for that kind of commercial-free, serious journalism that could enhance the level of
knowledge and information available to everyday Americans. They were right that NPR is an educational
institution at heart. It massively contributes to our common well being by living in a more informed society.
The same right-wing Republicans who want to privatize public schools (to line the pockets of their
supporters) and then outsource it want to kill NPR.
     . Many Republicans don’t believe that listeners, particularly young listeners should be exposed to subjects
like evolution, to be exposed to economic forum that shows their budget plan threatens 700k American jobs.
They attack NPR to throw red meat to the TP portion of its base, distract them for being focused on jobs by
giving them side-shows and circuses. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for their plans to create jobs. Idiots!
(Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: Progressives Can Win)

. Bush administration officials have long asserted that torture techniques used on detainees were utilized as a
last resort to gain actionable intelligence to thwart pending attacks on the US and its interests abroad.
Handwritten notes by Dr. Bruce Jensen (one of the architects of the government’s secret torture program)
drafted 2 decades ago tell a different story. It was used to exploit detainees, to break the down physically and
mentally, to get them to collaborate with government authorities. Jensen’s notes emphasize how a “detainer”
used the stresses of detention to produce appearances of compliance in a prisoner. (Jason Leopold, Truthout)

IV. International
. A conference of military top brass from 10 ASEAN nations has produced seven agreements on information
sharing, including the sharing of intelligence analysis between countries in the region coming to the meeting
in Jakarta on 3/31.

. China issues a white paper, stating it will never seek hegemony, nor will it adopt the approach of military
expansion now or in the future, no matter how its economy develops. It approves arms race in outer space
but sticks to no-first-use of nuclear weapons.

. Taiwan said it has no plans to establish cross-Taiwan Strait confidence-building measures (CBMs) as has
been called for by China.

. Two weeks after a devastating earthquake and tsunami plunged Japan into its worst crisis since WW II,
local refugee families are starting to see their lives restored to some semblance of a daily routine.

. The PM of South Korea ((Kim Hwang-sik) will make an official visit to China from April 12 to 15 at the
invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jinbao. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of
the Boao Forum for Asia in China‟s southern province of Hainan.

. Singapore’s first liberal arts college is all set to take in its pioneer batch of students in 2 years. The Yale-
NUS College will open its doors to the first group of 150 students.

. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III urged the business sector to assist the government in absorbing the
displaced Filipino workers (overseas Filipino workers) from North Africa and the Middle East who were forced
to return home because of political unrest in the region.

. Sketchy information and devastated locations are hindering the search for 284 Thai nationals still missing
after the earthquake and tsunami hit northern Japan early in March. Delays irk relatives.

. A group of hackers have gained unauthorized access in the Supreme Court‟s Web site in Indonesia. The
Information & Communications Ministry Web site was also hacked. The Minister (Muhammad Nuh) suspected
the hijacking was related to the issuance of a new law that bans online porn.

. Four women volunteers with the Customs Department in Malaysia were charged in three Sessions Courts
with corruption allegedly committed 5 years ago. They were accused of asking cash of RM 4,000 from
Syarikat Megah Stainless Steel Engineering owner as an inducement not to impose tax on him.

. The Petro Vietnam Group will spend $2.35 billion developing 25 petroleum projects in countries of the
former Soviet Union as well as in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America
. Monarch Norodom Sihanouk led Cambodia’s bid to regain Preala Vihear temple from Thai occupation in
1962 through the International Court of Justice. The Court determined the temple belonged to Cambodia, but
Thailand continues to dispute the ownership.

. A strong earthquake struck Burma near the Lao and Thai borders killing at least 60 people and injuring over
100 more. State radio reported 244 homes, 14 Buddhist monasteries and 9 government buildings were
damaged, including bridges and hospitals.

. India has been the world‟s biggest weapons importer over the last 5 years, Swedish think-tank SIPRI named
                                               nd
4 Asian countries: China and South Korea take 2 place on the list of global arms importers, followed by
                         th
Pakistan. Greece is the 5 largest importer.

. The failure to educate Pakistan’s children costs the equivalent of one earthquake a year, said the Pakistan
Education Task Force. 30,000 school buildings are in terrible state that they pose a threat to the well-being of
the children being taught there.

. The editor-in-chief of eNews Web site in Sri Lanka (Bennett Rupanninge) was arrested for allegedly
planning the arson attack on the Web site to bring the government into disrepute and threatening the families
of the suspects who carved out the arson attack on a contract basis.

. The special parliamentary committee in Bangladesh is contemplating controlling the authority of the
President to promulgate ordinances during the caretaker government.

. Lobrong Sangay is the favorite to win election as PM of Tibet. He grew up in a Tibetan refugee settlement in
Darjeeling, India. His parents sold 1 of the family‟s 3 cows to pay for his school fees. He went on to the
university and then law school in Delhi before winning the Fulbright scholarship to Harvard Law School.

V. Miscellaneous
. OP ED of the Week—“China‟s Coming Chaos,” ”Cubans Wear a Moral Vest” (3-22-11); “Awaiting the
Storm,” “America‟s New Entertainment: Political Shenanigans” (3-29-11).

. Partnership with America: Public Policy Forum Impacting Small Business, MBRT Annual Meeting, June 20-
22, 2011. For more info, go to www.mbrt.net AABR will be a partner in this conference. Mark your calendars.

. Germany is the leader in installed solar photo-voltaics panels; it shut down seven of its oldest nuclear
reactors. The total power output from installed FV panels is greater than the total power output of
Japan’s entire 6-reactor nuclear power plant. (Climate Progress)

. “Americans cannot afford an endless war in Afghanistan. After nearly a decade at war, with still no equal
commitment from the Karzai government, and after all the lives we‟ve sacrificed and the billions we‟ve spent
on this war, it‟s time to start bringing our troops home. It‟s time to put the future and security of Afghanistan in
the hands of its leaders, and focus America‟s national security on the emerging and more imminent threats
from al Quaeda in other regions.” (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, NY)

. “She [SP] went from being a political figure to being a celebrity—all of which kept her popular. But in the
course of those two years she added no substance… People now judge her against other players in the next
campaign; they might like her personally but think that she‟s less serious, less ready to be president. Is that
irreversible? Maybe not, but her books aren‟t selling—the last one bombed!” (Ed Rollins, GOP political guru)

. “Anybody who says you can‟t save money at the Pentagon has never been at the Pentagon. We can save
money on defense and if we Republicans don‟t propose saving money on defense, we‟ll have no credibility on
anything else.” (Gov. Haley Barbour, R-MS)

. “Beyond a certain point… the United States would be forced into a position of defaulting on its debt. And the
implications of that on our financial system, our fiscal policy and our economy would be catastrophic.” (Ben
Bernanke of the Federal Reserve)

. “When I write about inflation (or the lack thereof), I get a lot of remarkably angry mail from people who are
focused on commodity prices… Many of my correspondents don‟t seem to realize how small a role
commodity prices play in determining overall consumer prices. Not that they have zero effect… the price of
gas is a big part of the price of gasoline, which in turn has a big part on consumer prices.” (Paul Krugman)

. “Unions fought for and won fundamental rights that we all now take for granted—things ranging from child
labor and minimum wage laws to lunch breaks and 40 hour week… Some of us paid union dues, but all of us
reaped the benefits these dues bought. The union effect balances the profit-wage equation. Take it away and
                                                                    th
the equation tips back towards the radical social inequity of the 19 century and the period right before the
Great Depression. And this is what is happening. As the wage floor increased, the needs for individuals to join
unions decreased.” (Michael Niman, ArtVoice)

. “Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. We don‟t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we
think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening… This is a moment to get
rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.” (Newt Gingrich)

. “The standard [Obama] has fallen back of humanitarian intervention and could apply to Saddam, to North
Korea, to Zimbabwe, to begin this, to Yemen, to Bahrain… The Arab League wanted us to do something. The
minute we did something, the Arab League began criticizing us doing it. I think two wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan is a lot. I think that the problem we have in Pakistan, Egypt—go around the region… I would not
have intervened. I think there’s a lot of other ways to affect Gaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the
region we could have worked with. I would have not used American and British forces.” (Newt Gingrich who
has shown Americans that he is a loser who cannot make up his mind; he‟s in favor of intervention in Libya
before he was against it; who would trust this kind of guy)

. “That‟s a terrible thing to say… that‟s the biggest pile of dog mess I‟ve heard in ages… It‟s not „cause he‟s
black, is it? [Trump said it had nothing to do with that] Because I‟ve never heard any white President being
asked to show his birth certificate… When you become the President of the United States, you know he‟s
American. I‟m sorry. That‟s just B.S.” (Whoopi Goldberg on The View)

. “Gaddafi has his back against the wall… This has the potential of radicalizing him. He knows if he leave
power, his next destination could be (the International Criminal Court at) The Hague. So whatever the AU
[Africa Union] is saying in terms of democratization, it has come too late.” (Francis Ikome, South African-
based analyst)

. Little known facts about the Catholic Church in Las Vegas: There are more churches in Las Vegas than
casinos. During Sunday services at the offertory, some worshippers contribute casino chips as opposed to
cash. Some are sharing their winnings - some are hoping to win. Since they get chips from so many different
casinos, and they are worth money, the Catholic churches are required to send all the chips into the diocese
for sorting. Once sorted into the respective casino chips, one junior priest takes the chips and makes the
rounds to the casinos turning chips into cash. He, of course, is known as "The Chip Monk."

. Male Speech Patterns: "Will you marry me?" MEANS: Both of my roommates have moved out, I can't find
the washer and there's no peanut butter left.
  "That's interesting dear." MEANS: Are you still talking?
  "Honey, we don't need material things to prove our love." MEANS: I forgot our anniversary again.
  "It's really a good movie." MEANS: It's got guns, knives, fast cars and naked women.
  "I was just thinking about you, and got you these roses." MEANS: The girl selling them on the
       corner was a real babe.
  "Hey, I've got reasons for what I'm doing." MEANS: What did you catch me at?

. My job as a land surveyor took me to a golf course that was expanding from 9 holes to 18 holes. Using a
machete to clear thick brush in an area I was mapping, I came upon a golf club that an irate player must have
tossed away. It was in good condition, so I picked it up and continued on. When I broke out of the brush onto
a putting green, two golfers stared at me in awe. I had a machete in one hand, a golf club in the other, and
behind me was a clear-cut swath leading out of the woods. "There," said one of the golfers, "is a guy who
hates to lose his ball!"

. A young woman was suffering badly from hay fever. She was going to a fancy dinner party that night and
figured she would need at least two handkerchiefs to get her through the evening. She didn't have any
pockets, so she stuffed them both in her bra. Halfway through the night, she had already used up one
handkerchief and was rummaging around in her bra for the other one. She was having trouble finding it, and
soon she noticed that everyone at the table was looking at her. "What on earth are you doing?" asked one of
her colleagues. She replied: "I could have sworn I had two when I arrived!"

. During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, "How do you determine whether or not a retiree should be put in an
old age home?" "Well," he said, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the
retiree and ask him or her to empty the bathtub." "Oh, I understand," I said. "A normal person would use
the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup." "No . . ." he said. "A normal person would pull
the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

FOOTNOTES: 1) Computers can never replace humans. They may become capable of artificial intelligence, but they will
never master real male stupidity. 2) Friendship is like wetting your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its
warmth.
                                                                           Rawlein G. Soberano, Ph.D.
                                                                           President
                                                                           Asian American Business Roundtable

								
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